Highland Park 12 y.o. Review

Highland Park 12 y.o.

43% abv

Score:  86.5/100


This is where it begins in the Highland Park range.  A young – but not too young – malty, peaty, smoky, heathery, honeyed dram that bears all the hallmarks of this windswept Orkadian distillery’s profile.

Oops.  Did I just give you all of the tasting notes in the first sentence?  Not quite, but those are most definitely the core of this dram.

From the Northern fringes of Scotland hails one of the greatest single malt whisky distilleries in production.  Highland Park is a distillery built on, and intent on retaining, its traditional practices.

I found, as do most others, I believe, that the single greatest attribute (among many) of Highland Park is the astonishing balance they have created in juggling the softer, sweeter nuances of sherry…the organic essence of peat and smoke…and the malty old school face of whisky from ages past.  This is great harmony.

You’ll read it all over any HP review…heather and honey and smoke and peat.  Hate to be predictable, but yep…

Notes of peat and smoke are bold, but not over-powering.  There is a nice build of sherried dry fruit, tobacco and oak, with notes of honey, leather and salt.  Orange sauce.  Hints of sour plum and the whole picture rounds off nicely with a creamy caramel finish and wisps of smoke.  Fade is vaguely tannic woods and honeyed fruit.

Really a great 12 year old, but if you’re looking to find Highland Park at its apex…try a little older.  All of the pieces are here, even at this young age, but the refinement hasn’t been fully realized.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

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