We are one year into the pandemic lockdown and although this was purely coincidental, I celebrated staying home (as usual) with an online tasting event with Highland Park’s latest bottle that made it to the Philippines, the Triskelion. This is a limited bottle release with less than 50 bottles left for the local market.
Historically, the triskelion is a Celtic symbol that literally means “three legs” derived from Ancient Greek. Through the years, the symbol has been adopted by many modern organizations but the classic meaning has always been associated with symmetry, progress and inspiration. Highland Park’s Triskelion is named such to fondly commemorate the three master distillers involved in this project, Max MacFarlane, Gordon Motion, and John Ramsay. The three master blenders from Highland Park and Edrington (the parent company of Highland Park, Macallan and Glenrothes) represent the past and present of the company with MacFarlane having worked with the distillery for the past 44 years and has recently retired.
It is also called the Triskelion because of the three different first fill barrels used: first fill Sherry seasoned American oak casks, first fill Sherry seasoned Spanish oak butts, and first fill Bourbon casks. Edrington is showing off with their first-fill casks because they are one of the few distilleries that also owns its own cooperage, meaning they assemble their own barrels.
The “symmetry” of inspiration behind Triskelion is evident in its tasting notes. I would classify this as one of the “golden mean” unblended scotches because it is not particularly fruity, peaty nor is the finish long or harsh. It is by most means a casual scotch that can be drank at any occasion and although I would not serve this as a cocktail due to its limited run, it can very well make for a good base.
- Nose – slight hints of vanilla and citrus
- Mouth – toasted bread, vanilla, creme brulee
- Finish – very light peat, nothing lingering
Many foreign reviews have called out this scotch for being too bland for its price point, say compared to a Macallan Sherry Cask which sits at a more affordable price point as a sister brand. However, the Triskelion sits between a rather affordable collectors item (less than 50 bottles in the Philippines) and something you will actually drink. If you can get your hands on a bottle, then by all means do not pass up the chance.
The Highland Park Triskelion is a limited release 700ml bottle that sells for P16,800. It has an ABV of 45.1%. You can order from Future Trade ℅ Au Aguilar (09175079781) at futuretradeinc.com or from Thirst PH.
This article originally appears in the lifestyle section of The Manila Bulletin.