The nose is akin to floating on a honey-coated raft on a sea of distilled and vitiated lilac. Like a cartoon, even with desperate back-paddling, the boat goes over a waterfall into the mouth, and slows way down on the superlatively smooth molasses backwater. We fear being forever stuck in an eddy of delight, but like the gobs and daubs of paint splattered on the floor of Jackson Pollack’s studio, a long finish of 1000 pinpricks of refined tastebud explosions moves us along. The sensation of being caught in a gale of fluttering ecru plastic grocery bags in a landfill briefly evokes wonder: Are we transported not to heaven, but to a Dali landscape? But then the perfectly mellowed and balanced smoke and charcoaled ashes of a flaming brand taken from the Yggsdrasil world tree disembark us into a surprise landing at Hōryū-ji, the Buddhist Temple of the Flourishing Law, inhaling deeply of air lightly censed. The Highland Park 18 is so smooth that it could talk Sam Peckinpah into making a G-rated movie for Walt Disney, and as such, it constitutes a perfect dram to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, or the end of the Council of Trent, or the next job of George Wendt.
The Highland Park 18 is The New York Times, embodying all the scotch that’s fit to drink. No retractions or corrections on this issue, just iconic and Pulitzer-worthy reporting.