Highland Park on my desk today. For quite some time Highland Park was choosing single casks for airports all around the globe and this one is bottled for the brand new Istanbul Airport. The airport is the third and the biggest one in Istanbul and opened less than a year ago. Since I will be landing to the very same airport coming Tuesday it sounded like the right choice to pour today... It is a refill sherry butt filled in 2002 and bottled in 2018. The cask carrying the number #2783 yielded 592 bottles in total.
Color: Medium amber, polished copper with persistent tears around the glass.
Nose: Strawberry jam, white musk and vanilla. White chocolate, cookie dough and faint cold sea spray. A few drops of water give it a dusty character. Vintage magazines, ripe bananas and whipped cream. Dried strawberries and dried cranberries.
Palate: Hot at this abv... Tart, warming and salty. Water opens it up a little. It is still on the savory side compared to nose though. Olive brine, rosemary leaves and toasted wood. Second time I added a few more drops of water but it kinda backfired... Now I am getting some sulphur. It's also more salty and flattened out. Remains of a bonfire from the night before... Almost as a proof that we actually have some peat in this.
Finish: Long... Tingling black pepper, dried jalapeno rings and some not so desired metallic notes like drinking from a stainless steel flask.
Overall: To start with there is nothing offensive about this bottling. I had my share of many Single Cask Highland Park bottlings reaking sulphur in last couple of years and this is definitely not one of them... But also there isn't anything to leave you in awe. It has a great sweet and jammy nose that I liked a lot but it starts to go downhill from there. The palate is mostly one-dimensional and the finish has that off-putting metallic note. In the end I personally couldn't find any strong qualities to justify its high price-tag. Endless thanks to Ozgur Ozlen for saving me this sample from his own bottle and carrying it all the way to Campbeltown Malts Festival..!