Nose: Raisins, brown sugar, vanilla, tobacco, slightly bitter oak, slightly bitter but not very intense (wet card board) peat, a bit of the trademark heather note, light smoke, nuts and red fruit (strawberry) marmalade.
At first, a tad bit more bitter and less thick dark fruitiness like I remember it, but after it aired for quite some time much of these bitter notes disappeared and the nose showed much more of the thicker dark fruits notes.
Taste: Creamy entry, not really thick mouthfeel (a bit thin tbh), raisins, laid back smoke, brown sugar, vanilla, strawberries, quite noticeable wood influence, heather, milk chocolate, coffee grounds
Finish: The best part! Chocolate, smoke, heather, salt, honey, drying at the end of the finish, could be a tad bit longer though
Conclusion: Yeah, nice. I wouldn’t say much has changed. As far as I know, the specs stayed the same, didn’t they? I still like it quite a bit…the downsides are: it’s only 43% and could use a wee more and the price is getting higher and higher around here.
Highland Park | Full Volume | 1999 – 2017 | 100% First-Fill Bourbon Barrels and Hogsheads | 47.2% | NCA & NCF
Info: Yeah! No Viking mumbo-jumbo! This alone is a plus. And we know its age. Awesome! The price varies broadly ranging from 85 – 150€. That’s probably due to the facts that it’s limited edition, has an age-statement and no viking BS and got a couple of nice reviews around. So this shouldn’t be too bad, right?!
Nose: Surprisingly malty, herbs, vanilla, all kinds of tropical fruits, some wet cardboard peat, honey and heather, nuts (hazelnuts?) as well as oak.
Taste: Tropical fruits all over the place, malt, vanilla, oaky, bananas, some drying oak, quite salt-n-peppery abv bites, chocolate and coffee beans. Quite a clean and crisp taste.
Finish: Nice! Chocolate, quite long, vanilla, very noticeable Bourbon cask influence here, salty, dark coffee, heather, some peat, drying tannin combined with a slightly silky mouthfeel.
Conclusion: I like the regular 18 more, but then again I’m usually not a Bourbon Cask only guy but prefer Sherry Casks or a nice vatting between both worlds. This is a nice Bourbon Cask Highland Park and really like what they did here, no vikings, age statement, sweet abv, neither color nor chill-filtration. Lots of information about the dram on the side of the box, too! The finish is really nice, the palate is jammed with tropical fruits, so if you like that you’ll probably love this. It took me a while and all of the sample to appreciate this one, so don’t write it off after the first dram.
So, who wins? Well, while the Full Volume wins in almost all categories, the classic yet restyled 18 gets my vote taste wise and that should be all that matters. Still, I really loved the “new” HP approach with the Full Volume and hope to see more of that from them and less viking mumbo jumbo!