Friday 7th February 07:00 PM (GMT time) was marked with three coloured dots on my agenda. A rain-soaked DHL courier delivered a small parcel from Scotland only this morning and a certain Twitter hashtag was already trending...
Yep, this was Highland Park's and The Whisky Wire's Secret Tweet Tasting!
Three whisky's only to be recognized by a coloured red, green and blue marking on the bottle. And all three had to be tasted within an hour. So I had to be blazing fast with my tasting notes. And normally I'm a slow turd in doing so.
Mystery Dram #1 - Blue
Colour: Gold. Perhaps a hint of sherry?
Nose: Typical Highland Park heather flavours, freshly grated lemon, some maritime scents and a light smokiness. Also a fair bit of stewed fruits with sugar.
Taste: Sweet cinnamon and raisin pastries. Violet candy. And then... BOOM! Pepper, smoke, fresh espresso with a splash of cream. This looks like an 18YO on steroids to me. With water: delicious creamy salted caramel.
Finish: Warming, to say the least. Very hot on the tongue. Vanilla, cinnamon and some cardamon.
And Mr Blue was... Highland Park's Thor, 16 years old, 52.1% ABV, 23.000 bottles
Mystery Dram #2 - Red
Colour: Gold. But not as intense as number one.
Nose: A very light smokiness, golden syrup. Orange marmalade with a twist. Cranachan with (obviously) red fruits.
Taste: Creamy in the mouth. Lemon biscuits and a slight hint of fresh ginger. Also some gingerbread. A sandalwood cigar box stuffed with red fruit and biscuits. A lot more smoky than number one.
Finish: Coconut charcoal. Bananas on the barbecue with sugar, whipped cream and a splash of rum
And Mr Red was... Highland Park's Loki, 15 years old, 48.7% ABV, 21.000 bottles
Mystery Dram #3 - Green
Colour: Dark straw. The palest of the three
Nose: A walk through the forest after a rain torrent with a glass of hot red wine in your hands. Some notes of eucalyptus candy and citrus. Mandarin and lemon. Orchard fruitiness.
Taste: Very refreshing. Again eucalyptus and some mint. Some oranges. Orchard fruit. Apples and pears.
Finish: Soft. Spicy but soft. More green apples.
And Mr Green was... Miss Highland Park Freya 15 years old, 51.2% ABV, 19.000 bottles
I was a bit blown away by the speed things happened. No time to write or to raid the kitchen, sniffing all the spices and herbs available. But having these three great drams was an opportunity not to be missed. A big thanks to Daryl Haldane and Steve Rush for the generous samples. I still have some leftovers for a more extensive review.
And the winner of the evening was... Thor, the God of Thunder!