So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Highland Park Edward Giaccone vs Highland Park 1973 ‘The Dragon’ 56.4%

A welcome return to Orkney and Highland Park

Below is a snapshot of the famous Maes Howe cairn, relevant later with regard to The Dragon.


And this is how the inside of a cairn might look, ignore the concrete roof. This is NOT Maes Howe, but the Tomb of the Eagles. The only way in and out is on your back, but you get a little trolley cart.



Highland Park Edward Giaccone (age? abv? TBC)

Admittedly this label is a little confusing as quite a number of different bottles and vintages were issued with variations of this ‘Magnus’ label.


Nose Nose: Instantly you know this is an old nose. More than a few hints of OBE, shoe polish, soot and grimy dirt. Rusty tins and dusty wax candles. (In other words, great!) Also something earthy-herbal but also somewhat tangy. Like moldy celery, and chinese herbal medicine, in a diabolical tincture that must be the antidote for joy (masochists only) .. butttt  which really serves quite well here thank you. Not particularly powerful, but there’s a lot going on. Damp wood, some goopy stewed fruit well on the way to becoming jam. Something a little burnt as well.

Taste Palate: Yes much weaker and not as panoramic as the nose, maybe it’s just me. Definitely the same notes: Hot metal, some phenolic food, scratched copper pans, caked soot and old grease. More wood and stewed fruit. Does move on rather quickly though.

Finish Finish: Medium but great, it’s there but somewhat weak.


I am quite sure there was a large sherried portion in the vatting, and that’s the thing with these old sherry beauties. People often ask what’s the difference between yesterday’s sherry and what we get today. The answer to that is in this glass, it’s the little things that count, little nuances, little notes of this and that which often fly below my radar, but the cumulative flavour envelop is so integrated and multifaceted that the new stuff tastes like a careless mix of whisky and wine.


Highland Park 1973 ‘The Dragon’ 56.4% 


This was a small one off run for a local (by local here meaning Orcadian) company called S & J D Robertson in the late 90s early 2000s. The Dragon in question is an ancient graffiti carving copied from one of the most ancient places on Orkney – the Maes Howe Cairn built around 2800BC and sometime in it’s terrifyingly long existance, was broken into by Norsemen, one of whom was in possession of a suitably sharp knife, artistic talent and an apparent awe of dragons. For me however, it is the awe inspiring experience of standing in pitch darkness in the middle of this ark for the ages that is etched in my mind. The ancients are still carving.

Nose Nose: Quite some several notches up in power, but also feels much more modern.  More upfront than nuanced, still it’s a great nose. Wispy smoke, earth, lots and lots of big rich oxidised fruit of a sherry cask, some sappy greener note that make me think of the oxalic acid in spinach. Empty cans of engine oil. Big and firm,  and the kind of sherry they meant when they said Highland Park goes with sherry.

Taste Palate: Big thick and coating. Lots of meaty sherry notes, quite some smoke and scents associated with a hot engine, a surprise sweet malt core. Also I want to say peat but it’s more like earthy compost on fire. Cedar and incense. Ancient wood.

Finish Finish: Long and big. Goes on with little wood – sherry – smoke – herby notes.


Also excellent stuff,  also much more recognizable as today’s Highland Park. The jewel in Edrington’s stable. NOT Macallan.

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This entry was posted on February 4, 2017 by in Highland Park and tagged .
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