The Perfect Fifth Highland Park 1987 31 Year Scotch

This single cask malt offers slightly above average peat for Highland Park, heather honey rich with tannins and peat, and a heavy saltiness. The palate is silky, offering a greeting heavy with smoke and lightly oiled barley sugar, and some dark liquorice sweetness, underlined with exotic fruit. The nose is long and smoky, drawn out with teasing spices and molasses, oak and
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 flavour 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

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    The Perfect Fifth Highland Park 1987 31 Year Scotch

    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 favour. 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 whisky 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 whisky.


    Vintage | 1987

    Strength | 47.1%

    Bottled Year | 2019

    Region | Orkney Islands

    Cask Type | Sherry

    Bottles | 185

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    Weight 3.5 lbs

    The Perfect Fifth

    Alcohol type





    94.2 Proof