There has been much ado about this release by Highland park, mostly because of the Packaging, and also because of the pricing. You either love this bottle or you hate it, and I am not a big fan of this cologne looking bottle, with the wooden box, that surely adds a few 10’s of EUR to the pricing which is steep as is.. There has also been talk about how “limited” this release really is (30,000 bottles, just as a reminder) and I’ve written about that in some length in the “When is a “Limited edition” really limited?” post (read more here). At any rate, I wanted to review the whisky for what it was, never mind the price and packaging, like it deserves, we’ll discuss VFM later. so here goes.
The HP Ice edition is a 17 year old vatting of mostly in rebuilt first-fill bourbon casks that had been were with virgin American oak cask ends, bottled at 53,9% which is a nice strength.
Nose : Starts with malt and quite a bit of vanilla , hints of earthy peat and slight smoke (very slight) that balances it well. A hint of mint, fresh cut grass and damp wood, white pepper, maybe some wet cardboard. Not much fruit, I’m afraid, maybe a hint of green apple peel, not very exotic for the ex-bourbon cask profile…
Palate : The palate is nicer and bolder with lovely earth, Pepper and bitter wood. Mint, grass, a bit chalky with the wet paper and damp wood. A touch of charred wood, slight wax and sour apple cider, in addition to more peat smoke.
Finish : Wood, a hint of peat, barley sugar and bitter wood. Distant smoke. Grass and ripe orange peel. Dusty.
This is a nice whisky, all in all, with a nice body, and I guess this is what you get from a 17 year old ex-bourbon wood, (not the best cask btw) but this is not what I expect from a Highland Park. It’s got almost nothing of the HP DNA, and for me Highland Park, needs some sherry to really shine, and this is missing here, sadly. HP die hard fans will be disappointed I am afraid, I still will prefer the standard 18 yo which is much cheaper and much better IMHO.
The pricing is quite high here, and if you’re not buying this to collect dust on your shelf (as most bottles will, I imagine), and you’re a fan of HP, I suggest other HP whiskies which will be cheaper and more HP-like. I’ve seen some bottles of this going for 400 EUR on auction which is utterly insane given the vast number of bottles on sale worldwide. VFM wise, it’s very low VFM.