Highland Park 12 Review


Highland Park 12 Year (Highlands – Orkney) – 43% ABV – $80.20 CAD (LCBO)

Nose: Subtle in its complexity… Sweet toffee is evident, with a sense of subtle campfire smoke.  Light heather and grassy notes blend into the floral.  It finishes with a sense of minerality and sea salt.

Palate: Sweet toffee.  Immediate smokiness that dissipates quickly.  Dry, grassy, heather notes remain.  Oaky, peppery spice and light chocolate emerge through the development.

Finish:  Decently long but not particularly complex.  The white pepper spice and oaky notes linger with the residual toffee sweetness.

Score: 83/100                                                                                 

Rugged earthiness meets lightly floral

Highland Park is a distillery that often leaves me scratching my head a bit.  I get the sense that there’s something more to their whiskies that I just don’t get, and that it’s holding back my appreciation for them somewhat.

I enjoy their products in general, and the 12 year old is no exception, but they also leave me wanting something a little more.  In this case I really was hoping for a little bit more sherry influence out of a product that is supposed to be largely (if not entirely) sherry aged.  Maybe it’s batch variation, or maybe it’s just my own tasting inadequacies, but I just get none of it.  If I could pick up on more of that influence I feel as though it would take the 12 year old from a “good” whisky to an “excellent” one, with that little extra depth of flavour.

As it stands, for me, the 12 year old expression is a nice next step up from an entry-level single malt, into a world of slightly more complexity, if not depth.  A bottle I’m happy to have on my bar, but not one that I’m necessarily going to be desperately rushing out to replace when it’s empty.

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