On the nose, apples sautéed in butter and sherry and served in gumshoes that are lined with rabbit fur to keep from scuffing your loafers. Caramel buttons on your lover’s shirt, hanging on the chair next to the bed. Dark chocolate zippers on the pants crumpled in a heap on the floor. A series of coffee toffees stuck to your lover’s body so as to form a path for you to follow. In other words, by the time you’ve nosed the Highland Park 21 for a while, things are already going very well for you, but there’s also the distinct note that they’re about to get even better.
On the mouth, it’s like diving into a vat of Odin’s blessings. There’s tannic leather and caramel coating a driveway made up of Carrara marble pavers held in place with mortar fashioned from the finely ground ash of cherry pipe tobacco. And there’s a convertible Mercedes-Benz SLR at the end of it. There are also wood resins from barrels hewn from 5,000 years of Amazonian trees. Interestingly enough, making such barrels features prominently in all of the ultimate cooper “bucket” lists–though they don’t call theirs that. Maybe also hints of a book burning in which the bonfire sucks evil out of the air instead of actually belching evil into it (figuratively and perhaps literally–the latter depending on how much one is into books–so yeah, literally). In other words, it’s truly fantastic.
On the finish, we return to the scene from the nose, only to find your and your paramour in the afterglow, feeding each other honey crisp apples and blood oranges sprinkled with cane sugar. (Who cares? The sheets are silk…and they’re black. And no, that doesn’t make you creepy–it’s a fictional scene.) The finish isn’t overly long, but it’s poignant: a moment or six of fully requited bliss. Pick your favorite meaningful context. Got it? OK, it’s easily better than that. And in the long run, drinking the HP 21 will mean more to you than that experience did, too. Guaranteed.
The Highland Park 21 is just about every scene in which Anthony Hopkins appears in Remains of the Day–If it were possible for someone to hold more in his eyes without letting it out, I’d pay good money to see it. In terms of emotional subtlety and power, the whole thing is simply exquisite.