The Highland Park Vertical – it’s all about the wood

An ex-bourbon barrel costs about $100. A barrel of Spanish oak costs over 600 Euros.

Highland Park use exclusively ex-Oloroso sherry barrels, but using two varieties of oak. They spend more than £2m a year on wood – more than the rest of the industry combined.

You’ll get the chance to try the new make spirit, see how it’s transformed by the different oaks, and the effect of increasing the proportion of first-fill casks – but also how refill casks preserve the distillery character of the finished whisky .

You can also look for the heather-based Orkney peat (no trees) which has been specified by mainland distilleries for its famously aromatic qualities.

Combining the wood and the heather, HP is renowned for its honeyed quality, being able to dry your mouth and moisten it at the same time(!), and of course that complex balanced smokey finish. At the end of the session, we’ll suggest alternatives to HP you might like to try.

The whiskies:

  • New make spirit – nutty, sweet and fragrant
  • 12 year old (American White oak, Quercus Alba)
  • 15 year old (Spanish Red oak, Quercus Robur)
  • 18 year old (…awarded ‘Best Spirit in the World’ by Paul Pacult)
  • SMWS Single cask (wait and see!)
  • 24 year old Gordon & MacPhail single cask (refill bourbon)

Cost: £15.  At the Lord Nelson, 7.30, Wednesday 16 November 2011

This tasting has now sold out.
Details of our December tasting coming soon.