[Review] Highland Park - 12 year old 40%

Highland Park is a distillery located in the Orkney Islands, at the very North-East tip of Scotland, alongside the Scapa distillery. It is a malt that I never really considered at the beginning of my whisky adventure as it seemed to be readily available in supermarkets, often discounted (which to me suggested it wasn't anything special) and final nail in the coffin, the presentation didn't really shout quality in my opinion. After a couple of months investigating the whisky world, reading reviews of various distilleries and bottles, I realised Highland Park very often came out on top in terms of quality single malt for a very affordable price, so decided to wait for the next offer, and when it happened, I bought a bottle. And I haven't been disappointed indeed. The official packaging states the following: "A uniquely smooth, balanced single malt, with a rich full flavour and a gentle smoky finish" and I do fully agree with this statement.

Highland Park 12 years old is bottle at 40% ABV and it is fine in my mind as the flavour is there and having the minimum ABV possible for a whisky allows us -the consumers- to have it at a very reasonable price as well! Indeed, the higher the ABV is, the higher is the alcohol tax. It doesn't state anywhere on the bottle that is is unchill-filtered or natural colour so I presume both chill-filtration and E150 were used in the process, even if once in the glass the colour is more golden than orangy. The maturation happened in Spanish sherry casks but no extra information is given on the packaging about the sort of sherry cask used.

Nose: a very pleasant experience with a mixture of gentle smoke, raisins, honey and mango first, but also citrus and floral notes after a few minutes in the glass.

Palate: silky smooth, creamy, malty with some degree of smoke, heather, some honey sweetness, fruity with a hint of orange and salt too.

Finish: malty again, a bit of wood and smoke, some raisin sweetness and spices

With water: I wouldn't really add water the this dram as it is already very smooth and enjoyable as it is but very a drop, that's what I have found. Vanilla is more present on the nose, the palate is even fruitier and still the warm spicy finish.

A very enjoyable dram, for which I now understand what all the fuss is about.


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