Magnus by Highland Park- Here is a new expression by an old trusted friend, not me you ninny, Highland Park. This variation on a theme is a nice enough drink, pleasant round nose and a mild whiff of punchy vanilla with a dose alcohol forward to wake up your senses. I found a faint but enjoyable smokiness in this Orkney distilled malt. There is no revolutionary anything about this dram, no zany barrel aging, no nod to the patron saint of malted spirits, nothing was distilled via flamethrower, so why did I bother? It’s a super cool looking black bottle for heaven’s sake… good looks have to count for something! That said however, the flavor profile is standard fare with notes of honey and grasses layered in with some spicy fruit. The finish is longer than usual and rather more pleasant than the criminally oversold higher priced blends ( yup, those Walkers ). We are led to believe that Viking ancestors began this process and hence the catchy name. So the next time you are entertaining with a conga line of whisky bottles, add this dude into the mix and I guarantee this one is empty first. Superficial beauty does draw the attention of the masses so turn ‘em loose. It only rates a 6.5 on the “snobometer“ so no great loss to your collection of the good stuff. Bottom’s up!
Highland Park 18- Remember that Billy Joel tune “Uptown Girl” ? This classic Orcadian Island Scotch is the embodiment of uppercrust snazzines. It arrives in a stylish flat bottle that makes it stand out from the crowd and hints of something special. The peaty nose suggests a powerful flavor and tasting immediately confirms it. This malt’s slightly nutty and complex flavors seem to “ open” nicely with a few drops of water, swirl and savor for sure. There are toffee overtones in each dram that finally give way to a long smokey finish. Here is a very special scotch that would make a fine gift for a valued friend. Somewhat aristocratic …break out your best glassware for this uptown dandy. Easily a 9+ rating and highly recommended. ( 86 proof )