Our friend Gilles Dumangin, a 4th generation Champagne producer near Reims, also produces a fortified wine called Ratafia Champenois. He has secured whiskies from distilleries all over the world, which he has finished in his own Ratafia casks. This mystery single malt Scotch whisky is really no mystery at all... it is from the Highland Park Distillery in the Orkneys. It was distilled in 2007 and was bottled at 46% after 12 years. It was finished 7 Months in Ratafia Champenois Casks. Non-chill filtered with no added colouring.
Nose: honeyed, milky, waxy and fruity: Starburst candies right off the bat, melons, mango and Sun-Maid Raisins; Strawberry Twizzlers too.
Palate: soft with chewy malt, gentle ashy peat and soft milky mouthfeel; the waxy-creamy oak tones roll in with white chocolate, Malted Milk bard and more waxy Starburst fruit candies and Twizzlers; the soft honeyed ashy peat comes back to the fore after a few passes; salty, I didn’t catch it at first, but the maritime notes are there.
Finish: long, coating and creamy with lingering soft ashy peat, sea salt, honey and more waxy indulgences.
Comment: once again the Ratafia cask has a light touch on the spirit; while it has the classic creamy honey and subtle peat which Highland Park is famous for, I think I would have been hard pressed to identify this blind as being from Highland Park distillery; very balanced for a 12 year old.