Highland Park 12yo

Highland park 12yo, one of the mainstream single malts and an early stop on most people’s malt journey. Indeed the classic journey begins at Glenfiddich or Glenlivet 12, before moving on to Highland park and then onto Islay. Highland park has that little bit of everything. Mild smoke, sweetness and a real all rounder.

Highland park 12 is a whisky I found quite early on in my own journey and one I became quite familiar with. So, when opening christmas presents, to find a bottle of HP12 in the new style under the christmas tree I was very happy. Can’t go wrong right? Here are the dramstats:

  • Age 12yo
  • ABV 40%
  • Price £26.99

Nose: Peat smoke, chocolate raisins, plums, blueberries. There is something harsh and unpleasant though. An “off” note that burns the nose and is extremely unpleasant

Palate: Fruity delivery with plums and chocolate raisins. The harshness from the nose makes a very brief appearance followed by a wave of gentle peat smoke and cocoa.

Finish: The peat and cocoa fades and becomes weaker. Reminds me of peated nesquik milkshake.

Verdict: What has happened? This is not the Highland Park I’ve been drinking over the years. Sure, there are similarities, but the burning nose is new and, for me, particularly unpleasant. It just dominates and makes the whisky difficult and not enjoyable to nose. Not sure what has gone wrong. The brief appearance on the palate isn’t as much of a distraction as it was on the nose and, the whisky is quite drinkable. I enjoy the chocolatey notes and the nesquik finish is pretty cool.

I don’t know what is wrong with this. We’re all at different points in our whisky journey, and I probably need some guidance in this area. What I do know is that there is something on the nose that I find unpleasant that burns and overpowers. I’ve nearly finished the bottle and every time I’ve come back to it (even blind alongside other whisky) there it is. So it’s something.

I’ve had HP12 before and there was no problem. So this could be a one-off. At the price I am tempted to buy it again, just to see if it has gone away. I’m not done with Highland park. The flavour profile of chocolate fruit and smoke is just too far up my street. But I will be keen to try before I buy again.

Update: Since writing this I have sent samples to a couple of fellow bloggers, both of whom insisted there was something not right with my bottle of HP. At least it’s not me.


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