Appearance: Rich hues of russet and copper
Nose: Spicy and aromatic with a background of rich dark fruits, Nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon zest and darkest chocolate. The use of refill casks, allows, Highland Park’s trademark smoke to be retained, even after 40 years in wood
Palate: Beautiful balance of sweet toffee notes, dark chocolate, black cherries, honey, sun dried orange zest and aromatic heather peat smokiness
Finish: Rich, long, elegant, smoky and surprisingly sweet. Lingers forever
Malt Advocate 93 points - Antique copper color, with some streaks of gold. A complex array of dried fruit on the nose, peppered with dried spice, orange marmalade, dark chocolate, and wood shavings. On the palate, the immediate impact is once again marmalade, followed briefly by bramble before drier notes of dark chocolate, wood shavings, anise, and subtle smoke emerge. Dry and spicy on the finish, but never austere. A delicious, contemplative 40 year old Highland Park that has aged gracefully.
This is a permanent addition to the range. Out of curiosity, I tasted it next to the other great Highland Parks (the 30 year old and several very good single cask bottlings over 30 years old). This whisky is in the same league as the others. Its only down side is that it’s a lot more expensive than the others.
(Fall 2008) Reviewed by: John Hansell
Wine Enthusiast 90 points - Initial inhalations detect lots of vibrant, salty, maritime aromas, including seaweed, coastal brine and smoke; aeration introduces deft traces of oak, Sherry, honey and dried fruits. Palate entry is acidic, clean, vigorous and properly oily; midpalate highlights include bittersweet flavors of toffee, cocoa bean, light honey and oak resin. Ends up long, spirity, clean and salty.
— P.P. (12/15/2009) — 90-95 (Dec 2009)
Released in 2008, Highland Park 40 was named Best New Release of the Year at the World Whisky Awards 2009. It has been largely matured in refill casks, that is to say casks that have previously been used to mature whisky. Every time a cask is used, its ability to impart an influence on the spirit is diminished. When laying down a whisky for extended maturation, such as this, it is important that the cask doesn’t dominate the spirit. If first fill casks had been used, the sweetness (an oak-derived additive quality from the cask) would have been too strident.