Highland Park 12

Bottle: Wider and broader than most. Looks more like a bourbon style bottle for some reason. Nothing overly fancy here, no gimmicks and we’re about to find out why…

Nose: Sea air when first poured then shifting to salt and lemon. Some green apple, honey and a touch of smoke. Clean and sharp.

Body: Medium and silky.

Palate: Big and bold. A confident blend of brown sugar, cream, wood and something a little burnt (pineapple?). This one is a giver…

Finish: Long, salty and smoky but not overpoweringly so. A final note of bitter chocolate in the tail. Quite luxurious actually.

Neat/Ice/Water: This is best neat I think. Ice/water adds a little effervescence/sherbet to the mouth and tail but undoes the palate too much, reducing what’s so special about this malt by too many degrees.

Verdict: Superior. This has got to be a contender for best in class as far as 12 year olds go, whatever the region. In the same price bracket I find it hard to reach for another label and it absolutely has residency status in my cabinet. Warming and smoky without being too peaty, it’s a fantastic dram on a chilly night and very moreish. I tried the 21 last year, now that’s another story altogether…

Addendum: This Highland Park is no longer available and has been replaced with the 12 year old “Viking Honour” edition which I believe to be inferior. It tastes weaker and lacks the same character which is a real disappointment.

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