Colour: ripe gold
Nose: rich, intense. Fruity and spicy; a big oak and vanilla whiff at start. Then luscious spicy notes: cumin, cardamom, hint of ginger. The fruit slaloms between spice and oak. An enticing mix of poached pears, steamed apples, dried apricot and a teasing touch of passion fruit. All topped with vanilla crème anglaise. And it goes on… milk chocolate, marzipan. A distant floral touch, freesia maybe.
Palate: satin-like. Gently coating the tongue. The same fruity and spicy character. More exotic this time. Mango, passion fruit. Drying on oak and spices. Ground ginger, white pepper.
Finish: dry, long with a delicious marzipan and orange peel come back.
Comment: complex and enticing nose, the palate is more a one piece delivery. And oak is more present. The finish is moreish. With water the nose is creamier but it enhances the spices on the palate and also brings in a slight astringency. Be cautious when adding water. A few drops will suffice.
Pairing suggestion: lamb biryani or almond trout with a ginger cream sauce.An exotic fruit pavlova or a caramelized orange crème brûlée. Or, even better, those scrumptious “calissons” (a candy from Aix-en-Provence, south of France, a small boat shaped marzipan and candied melon delight covered with icing. Truly irresistible)
Highland Park – Loki – 48.7% . 15 Year Old Highland Park takes its name from a legendary character in Norse mythology. It belongs to the “Valhalla collection”, the first to be launched was Thor. It has matured in sherry casks (Spanish oak) and also some heavily peated casks.
Colour: bright gold.
Nose: an intriguing interlacing of dry and sweet aromas. Earthy, spicy but with a sweet citrussy aroma. Satsuma and orange marmalade followed by dried pear and lemon posset. Complex and multi-layered. Orange blossom honey. Hint of tobacco leaf.
Palate: smooth and creamy start with a certain viscosity. Oak is more present than on the nose but is beautifully integrated. The mouth feel is drier at mid palate with a dusty earthy texture and a dry spiciness. Obvious smoke creeps through. Cardamom, ground ginger and a solid liquorice note. The flavours are delivered in a lively and swirling movement.
Finish: slowly fading like a dying fire on liquorice, orange peel and spices. Water brings in an amazing salty note, enhances the liquorice and also the oak astringency.
Comment: The Highland Park character is here – earthy and honeyed – but with a multidimensional aromatic profile. Water brings in an amazing salty note, enhances the liquorice but releases the oak astringency.
Pairing suggestion: date and almond lamb tajine with a spicy tang. Or a pork loin with fruit (pears and apples) and a liquoriced sauce. Bakewell tart. Citrus fruit salad.