Highland Park 31 Year Old, 1987, The Perfect Fifth
THE PERFECT FIFTH HIGHLAND PARK 1987 #1531 31 YEAR OLD SINGLE MALT, 47.1% ABV
delightfully softened with phenols at the close.
The origins of Highland Park are obscured by myth; whether it was the site of Viking descendant Magnus Eunson’s illicit still, or built by farmer David Robertson, the distillery was officially founded in 1798. Orcadian peat is composed mainly of sphagnum moss and heather, resulting in a flavor profile very different from that of the mainland, more aromatic and fragrant. This influence is hugely apparent in this archetypal example of the distillery’s produce.
Cask no. 1531
Nose: Pretty near perfect HP for its age, and one of the best examples of the distillery of that era I have nosed for a very long time. Slightly above average peat for a HP, which works perfectly in its favor. The usual heather honey has been skewed slightly by the heady mix of tannins and peat. The saltiness is profound, the oak a rich, spicy backbone. The sweetness is subtle and still honeyed, but more now a blend of Manuka and orange blossom. Truly magnificent!
Taste: Scotland’s silkiest malt at its most silky. The bold smoke on arrival is caught in the velvet gloves of the lightly oiled barley sugar, a dark liquorice sweetness spreading as the oak makes its mark. The spices are prim, proper and just so, never moving out of their set orbit while the honey starts to make its long-awaited mark, bringing with it the light smoke; a quick surge of exotic fruit underlines the antiquity with aplomb.
Finish: Long, increasingly smoky with the spices still teasing and forging a beautiful duet with the molassed sugars; the oak beats out an aged pulse but the phenols return to soften as well and entertain.
Balance: This is a malt whiskey coming to the end of its life, like a star becomes a white dwarf before the end of its existence. In density is huge…and I mean gigantic. The oaks are about to explode…but the cask has been bottled in the nick of time where the balance is still near perfect. Fine margins…for a very fine whiskey.
- JIM MURRAY’S WHISKY BIBLE 2020
Perfect equilibrium can also be found in taste, this results when all five tastes that a person can sense become flawlessly aligned. As Scotch whisky matures, it draws flavor from the wood, developing a flavor profile unique to itself. Seldom do the five tastes develop with true harmony and complexity. When selecting casks of such high quality, it is this perfect fifth that we are seeking; that perfect equilibrium of flavor notes, which are so often sought after but so rarely found.
The Perfect Fifth scours distilleries all over Scotland, from the Orkney Islands to the Lowlands, from Campbeltown to Speyside, in an effort to find the magnum opus of each distillery.
What they have uncovered is a selection of whiskeys that are extraordinary examples of that distillery’s unique character.
Never before has Scotch whisky been presented in this way. The unique packaging is reminiscent of the whisky cask complete with textures and grooves intended to evoke the craftsmanship, and artistry, of the cooper. The miniature casks are a captivating reminder of the time the spirit has spent in oak, developing a unique and inimitable flavor profile.
Open the bottle to experience a multitude of aromas from the hand-selected whiskey within. Once it passes the lips, expect a full-bodied and complex flavor profile, a sensation that is unique to each release and has passed uncompromising quality standards.
The Perfect Fifth is a complex, yet artistic, form of equilibrium. When the notes in these fine whiskeys align they create an unmatched experience. Enjoy!