Twisted Tattoo – Highland Park

Highland Park

Founded In 1798 by David Robertson on the site where an illicit still had run under the watchful eye of smuggler and business man Magnus Eunson ( A name most Highland Park fans will know ) .

Highland Park distillery is located on the rugged island of Orkney, the island has a long history with the Vikings and that resonates down into the whisky produced..

Proud of the Viking history which in some senses seems ironic as most stories of Viking history talks of rape and murder (In the form of invading other countries and not a general lifestyle might I add )

The distillery these days talks of pride and heritage and boasts an ever growing portfolio of new expressions released and a large loyal following fan base who are ready to snap up every new bottling onto the market..

The distillery itself has the capacity to produce 2.5 million litres of alcohol which in today’s market is not a vast amount but when you consider the amount of releases you almost assume they would be producing a lot more..

In order to produce this amount of whisky the distillery uses a semi – Lauter mash tun, 12 Oregon pine wash backs, one 12 ton mash tun and 2 pairs of stills..


Twisted Tattoo – 16 year old

This release is said to be in honour of the culture, the tribe and standing apart and in a society that is certainly very acceptable of tattoo’s this expression is understandably a link to both heritage and society today..

This is the latest release from Highland Park and is the first expression to be made up from Spanish Rioja casks and bourbon casks.

The Rioja casks were initially seasoned with the Spanish wine before storing the Highland Park whisky and 153 casks were used along with 70 first fill bourbon casks in order to make this new expression..

With 223 casks being used this isn’t exactly a limited edition.


Distillery.. Highland Park

Region.. Highlands

Age.. 16 years

Abv.. 46.7%

Casks.. Rioja wine cask and First fill Bourbon

This is also NCF and Naturally Coloured

Nose.. Vanilla lead with a nice fruity influence. The vanilla is most dominant but there is certainly a very intriguing underlying fruitiness in the form of peaches, plums and freshly picked summer berries.. Soft spices and the softest hint of smoke.


Palate.. The smoke is more prominent on the palate and compliments the vanilla and fruits quite well but they soon disperse and leave you with a more peppery note..

Finish.. Long and spicy

Thoughts.. This is said to have a distinctively different character to the normal Highland Park expression and while we should all embrace change I also go by the “ if it ain’t broken don’t change it “ motto,  for me and I stress this is only my opinion this does not excite me at all..

The nose is inviting but the palate does disappoint, those exciting fruity notes that invite you in on the nose just don’t seem to be evident on the palate.. They do pop in for a quick burst but it’s over far too fast..

With a RRP of  around £80 this virtually sits at the old 18 year price bracket (although that is now basically £100 ) and if you ask me I’d rather pay the extra £20 and get the 18 year old…

An interesting concept but not for me.. Although I’d love to hear what you think ?

With thanks to Highland Park for the official sample..

4 Comments Add yours

  1. sorrenkrebs says:

    Totally agree..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice write up. Great to try something different but the regular expressions are truly something else. We posted our thoughts on the Twisted Tattoo too and found that the Rioja casks weren’t bringing as many flavours to the table as anticipated. Enjoyable whisky nonetheless. Would love to try the Rioja matured whisky on its own.


  3. sorrenkrebs says:

    A very similar experience.. Just think when up against the 18 there is only one winner..


  4. Great review as always Sorren. I did find this an interesting and very enjoyable whisky but it took a very long time and some water to reveal its depths. When I tasted this I had it two hours in the glass. This does not make it a very accessible dram and like you I would buy the 18 year old in preference for value.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.