Highland Park 21YO - and getting better once opened

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Highland Park 21YO - and getting better once opened

Postby gazza1955 » Sat Mar 11, 2006 4:35 pm


I'm writing as a newbie ( still!) and have a couple of questions for more experienced whisky lovers and an observation.

I posted a while ago to say I had bought a bottle of HP 21 yo and how much I enjoyed it.I've only had it just over a week. A good friend came round last night and after a couple of beers offered him a whisky (he'd only drunk Bells, Jamesons and Jack Daniels before but does have a good palate).

After a sniff of 3 bottles ( the HP21 , a Balvenie doublewood and an Aberlour A'Bundah batch 16) he said the Aberlour smelt as if it would be too rich.

We started with the HP and those who have seen my other post will know I love it. But it was even better than the first and second time ! It tasted somehwat "airier" .

Is it my palate getting used to it and what to expect ? Or is it that after the bottle is opened it "breathes" a bit more? Loved it even more this time. I'm not sure whether it's the right description to offer , but it tasted a little "breezy" ( reminded me of that freshness you get on a spring day at the beach when the wind blows off the sea) .

My friend loved it too - said it was almost "cleansing" and told me of how ,after a bottle of Valpolicella on holiday a waiter recommended a msture schapps to freshen the mouth . Felt it did the same thing.

We then tried the Balvenie and his reaction was - very pleasant a nice easy drink smooth and comforting , but more "bland" than the HP.

He declined the Aberlour saying it would be too overpowering and he wanted to savour what he had had.

Makes me wonder :-
1. Does whisky get better once opened ( at least for a while?) and/or
2. Does your palate develop a sense of memory and/or anticipation

Welcome your thoughts !



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Postby Lawrence » Sat Mar 11, 2006 7:10 pm

I think that a lot of whiskies can benefit from spending a short while exposed to the air before tasting. Sometimes I let a dram sit for a while in the glass before I nose and taste it.

As to the effect of a bottle changing slightly after opening we are currently discussing this in another thread "Opened bottles that get better" in the Q&A section.

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Postby Jan » Sun Mar 12, 2006 12:31 am

Hi Gazza

Most whiskies benefit from a few days breathing time after opening - this is probably what happened here.

On the other hand I find that a lot of other circumstances can influence how I experience a certain whisky tasted at different times. The most obvious being the food you had during the day, other drinks you have enjoyed that evening and simply the mood you are in and the atmosphere of the occasion...

Out of curiosity: Which bottling of HP 21 are you talking about ? I do not think an 21yo is a part of the OB range - so must be a independent ?


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Postby Sherried Malt » Sun Mar 12, 2006 6:14 pm

Gary, I think Jan is absolutely right. I think circumstances strongly influence your reaction to a given dram, and I can't help but believe it'll shape one's expectations for the next go-around.

And I don't know whether this is true in your case or not, but at many wine tastings I've attended, very positive comments voiced by just one participant is enough to sway opinons in a given wine's favor. Negative comments are received similarly. I guess we tend to value the opinions of our friends... :)

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