There is always drams which just seem to pass you by. Ones which you don’t quite grasp the significance of interesting hook. The Cask Orkney 18 is just one of those whiskies.

Highland Park 12 was the first whisky I ever tried. I was hesitant to try whisky generally to be honest. It seemed a hard rough drink which was all burn and completely lacking in any kind of pleasure. The Highland Park 12 was none of that and as I took my first sip and expected burn I got a richness and a sweetness that was nothing I expected. As I relaxed and my shoulders clenched I started to actually enjoy it and pick out that rich dried fruit note so common in sherry matured whisky.

In later years I read about independent bottles of cask strength Highland Park solely matured in ex bourbon barrels. The reviews were always good but there was never the funds to purchase a bottle. Recently, official Highland Park has been nothing but a disappointment with the official 18 year old being a particular expensive and sorry affair. Which brings me to this expression from AD Rattray which while being unnamed is probably (possibly) Highland Park.

It was only after trying this sample I remembered the advertising for this when it was released in 2018. I rememberd the Ralfy YouTube review and the twitter chatter about it. All that background noise came back and only now I realise there is a potential to compare it to the official HP 18 and see which wins in a head to head.

The Dram


The same specification as the last review this is natural colour, non chill filtered whisky bottled at 46% ABV. IF you can still get it then look to pay around 65 pounds and remember the official HP is 40% and north of 100 pounds.

Tasting Notes


Colour – very light yellow

Nose – grapefruits initially and then more exotic sweeter fruits

Palate – a peppered palate with average texture. tinned fruit in syrup mixes with burnt toast and cough mixture. Heat comes from a smoky wood fire and burning branches. The smoke is still quite energetic considering the 18 years of resting it has had

Finish – The finish is long with a lingering lemon and marine note lasting for a good while. More pepper and spices from the palate translate across to the finish. More bonfires and wood burning stoves from this lightly peated single malt.

Final Thoughts

This can be Highland Park or Scapa but regardless who made it this has been released to a higher standard than official 18 year old Highland Park. The price is spot on and the quality is excellent. Like I said during the Tweet Tasting I think I wouldn’t have purchased a bottle ever of this and that would be a crying shame. If you are reading this then don’t make my mistake get the last stocks where you can.



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