Highland Park 21 y/o: buy now!May 1st, 2009
I first wrote about Highland Park 21 year old here back in December, 2007. I commented how this new whisky, exclusive to Travel Retail, is one of the finest Highland Parks I have ever tasted. The whisky was smartly bottled at 47.5% ABV.
This past week I received a letter from Highland Park’s Global Controller that the whisky’s strength will be dropped to 40% ABV.
First, let me commend Highland Park for taking the high road on this and letting the whisky media know about this ahead of time, rather than us finding about it after the fact. It was very professional of them to handle it this way. But still, I can’t help but be sad about this decision. Here’s the explanation I received in the letter:
We intend to keep the same selection of cask types for the 21 year old and, as with all expressions of Highland Park, the colour will remain entirely natural. However, in order to protect the character of this variant, a reduction in overall strength will be required; this reflects the relatively lower cask strengths of the whiskies coming from the mid–to late–1980s, the key constituent components for this expression. As a result, the ABV will be reduced from 47.5% to 40%.
So, if you are traveling internationally in the near future, or know someone who is, now is the time to stock up on HP 21 before the strength is dropped.
The letter goes on to say something even more concerning to me:
It is worth pointing out that we are currently looking at the strengths of both Highland Park 25 year old and 30 year old for the same reasons and expect that their strengths may need to change too.
As you may know, these expressions are also bottled at higher strengths. I fear that lowering these strengths to 40% ABV will also be a detriment to the whisky. Don’t rush out and stock up on 25 and 30 year old HPs (just yet anyway), but I will keep you abreast of any changes to these expressions before they occur.