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Highland Park 12

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Highland Park 12

Postby Megawatt » Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:01 am

I'm sure much has already been said about this whisky on this forum, but it has been a long time since I've tried it and I'd like to put my thoughts down while I've got a glass in hand.

It's evident from the first nosing that this is heavily sherried, which makes sense because Highland Park uses sherry casks exclusively. Still, it is much fruitier than I remember. To my nose, it is chocolate and dried berries and dates. Rich and luxurious.

Thick, sweet malt on the tongue. Very fruity, quickly becoming spicy. Some smoke, but not peaty like I remember it. A slight rubbery note in the finish, which I also found in the 15-year-old.

So all in all I'd say this is heavier on sherry and lighter on smoke than the bottle I had a year ago, but it's also quite possible that my palate has changed since then. I have tried a lot of different whiskies in the meantime, after all. Either way, this is fantastic stuff.
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby borgom » Sat Jan 31, 2009 1:03 pm

Are you sure about exclusive use of ex-sherry casks? I thought they also used some ex-bourbon.
You're spot on about the cask and peat balance though. The 18 I had recently had a much greater sherry influence with far less peat.
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby Ganga » Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:04 pm

HP does have bourbon casks. I've had some very fine bourbon cask bottlings.
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby Megawatt » Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:13 pm

From what I recall reading on their website and on the bottle, the 12-year-old is matured entirely in sherry casks. Usually the producer will specify when different cask types are used, no?
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby Willie JJ » Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:15 pm

No.
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby The Third Dram » Sat Jan 31, 2009 5:14 pm

I've always been under the impression that Highland Park has pretty much stuck to the use of ex-Sherry wood, though predominantly of the refill variety, for the maturation of its proprietary bottlings. Obviously, there is also a fair quantity of the distillate ageing away in ex-Bourbon wood as well, as evidenced by some of the independent bottlings.

As to the apparently elevated degree of Sherry cask influence in recent releases, I can well recall bottles of Highland Park 12 Year Old dating to the early to mid 1980s that displayed an even greater Sherry cask derived flavour aspect! Of course, that was back in the days before multiple incarnations of a single malt became the norm for the industry.
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby normal5 » Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:42 pm

I sampled my first HP 12 last evening ans as I recall the Nose was full of candied fruit, and sweet licorice or cotton candy. it was then followed by a smell and taste that I can only describe as "doctors office" sterial alcohol and rubber gloves. It was not the most thrilling Scotch experience I've had. I'm looking forward to trying it again tonight.
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby Megawatt » Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:08 am

normal5 wrote:I sampled my first HP 12 last evening ans as I recall the Nose was full of candied fruit, and sweet licorice or cotton candy. it was then followed by a smell and taste that I can only describe as "doctors office" sterial alcohol and rubber gloves. It was not the most thrilling Scotch experience I've had. I'm looking forward to trying it again tonight.


Yeah, that put me off of it a bit when I first tried it. Have you tried any Islays like Bowmore or Lagavulin? That antiseptic taste is far more pronounced in those whiskies. I never thought I would grow to like it. All I can say is, give it time. Don't write off a whisky if you don't like it initially. Your palate will change as you taste more Scotches, more than likely.
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby normal5 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:21 pm

Yeah that's what I'm hoping. I purchased the HP 12 after reading so many great reviews (none of which had mentions this smell and taste as being soooo pronounced) Anyway on second tasting I found it to be very similar. I'm not sure as to whether this will diminish with continued tastings or whether I can just educate myself above the flavor to appreicate the process of creating a good dram. I still haven't had it with water but could be interesting.
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby Megawatt » Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:44 pm

normal5 wrote:Yeah that's what I'm hoping. I purchased the HP 12 after reading so many great reviews (none of which had mentions this smell and taste as being soooo pronounced) Anyway on second tasting I found it to be very similar. I'm not sure as to whether this will diminish with continued tastings or whether I can just educate myself above the flavor to appreicate the process of creating a good dram. I still haven't had it with water but could be interesting.


It will only diminish once you've tried peatier whiskies that will make it seem less smoky by comparison. Honestly when I first tried Lagavulin I couldn't believe anyone could possibly drink the stuff. Yet two months ago I spent $110 on a bottle!

Highland Park is great with a small bit of water.
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby normal5 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:14 pm

thanks for the vote of confidence!
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby closeup » Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:27 pm

As i live in Orkney i have had many a hp and i have enjoyed every one i have a couple in my collection ,the one you display (i hate the new bottle shape) the 15 hp is a fabulous malt but the pride of my collection is a Highland park cenentary reserve ,i have bottle unopened but i have sample quite a few of them it has to be the best ever whisky experiance what do other readers think of it
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby clicker7 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:26 am

Closeup you wrote:
i hate the new bottle shape
.

I agree-- I loved the old stubby HP bottles, and what was in them!

Still a big fan of the 15, and 18yr.

Joseph
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby dcb » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:42 pm

Love the 12 and with the 18 costing $100 now (too much, imo), I finally tried the 15 yr which was on sale. Very pleased with it, what a delicious pour, about as good as the 18 and half the price. I too prefer the old dumpy bottles, the new ones are a bit tricky to pour from.
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby Reggaeblues » Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:13 pm

The 15 must have got better. I was given a bottle a year or two ago. Definitely the poor cousin of the 12, and nowhere close to the 18.

A masterpiece of mediocrity...
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby Rob B » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:49 pm

I only opened my first bottle of HP12 a week ago and it is already half gone. I just love this whisky; it is really hitting the spot for me.

I like the bottle shape, but the box is a bit cheap and nasty.

I believe the local Asda has some HP12 on the go for about £19 a bottle, so I may swing by there tomorrow night and investigate.

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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby Holysinner » Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:40 am

I purchased my first bottle of Highland Park (a 750ml 12yo packaged with a 50ml bottle of 18yo, for about the same price as a 12yo elsewhere) two weeks ago and initially found it challenging, but it is really growing on me. I haven't opened the 18yo mini yet.

The first nose was almost sour and tar-like, and I found the alcohol hot and biting. Repeated tastings though have been far more balanced, with the nose more floral and grassy, with sweetness and a hint of smoke and salt on the palate, and a peppery finish.

I'm new to single malts, having only discovered them since January this year (with 8 bottles now in my collection, and 2 others tasted). I think it is the complexity of HP that I had trouble unraveling - Cragganmore 12yo too has taken it's time revealing itself to me, whereas I took immediately to upfront Laphroaig 10yo and straighforward Auchentoshan Select.
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby dramtastic » Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:56 am

Have only tried the 12 and 16 and can't say that HP is a grabber for me. The 16 is close to the worst SM I've tried. The 12 is ok but nothing special IMO. I am drinking a Bowmore 12 right now and would buy this again before the HP12. I will however, when funds allow try the HP 18 and hopefully enjoy.
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby Megawatt » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:53 pm

dramtastic wrote:Have only tried the 12 and 16 and can't say that HP is a grabber for me. The 16 is close to the worst SM I've tried. The 12 is ok but nothing special IMO. I am drinking a Bowmore 12 right now and would buy this again before the HP12. I will however, when funds allow try the HP 18 and hopefully enjoy.


I actually didn't find the 18 that much better than the 12. Better for sure, but if I didn't like one I doubt the other would have changed my mind, you know?
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby dramtastic » Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:34 am

dramtastic wrote:Have only tried the 12 and 16 and can't say that HP is a grabber for me..


Actually I did get to try a dram of HP30 at the duty free in Brisbane, which from memory I found more interesting. Couldn't justify the the three or 400 dollar price tag though, especially when I picked up an Aberlour A'bunadh#20, Balvenie 15 SB, Talisker 18, Ardbeg 10 and Laphroaig QC for the about same price. :D
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby Minnesota Malt » Thu May 07, 2009 5:58 pm

dcb wrote:Love the 12 and with the 18 costing $100 now (too much, imo), I finally tried the 15 yr which was on sale. Very pleased with it, what a delicious pour, about as good as the 18 and half the price. I too prefer the old dumpy bottles, the new ones are a bit tricky to pour from.



I just got a bottle yesterday and I noticed that it is a bit tricky to pour from, several drops ran down the side of the bottle. It could be because it was a full bottle, but the design of the bottle would suggest to me that this will occur no matter how much is left. Has anyone else noticed this, or am I just pouring it wrong? :?
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby PikNik17 » Fri May 08, 2009 1:50 am

I just got a bottle yesterday and I noticed that it is a bit tricky to pour from, several drops ran down the side of the bottle. It could be because it was a full bottle, but the design of the bottle would suggest to me that this will occur no matter how much is left. Has anyone else noticed this, or am I just pouring it wrong? :?


I have experienced the same issue with each pour.
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby Ganga » Fri May 08, 2009 4:49 pm

I find the odd bottle just doesn't want to cooperate when pouring, usually occurs with freshly opened bottles. But the HP 12 was very cooperative last night. :D
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby tuddy24 » Sat May 09, 2009 2:51 am

Of all the SM's I've had this one is hands down my favorite. Sweet introduction with a limy zestiness that swells in the mouth, it's almost like a bomb that wants to go off. Dry and smoky finish but not necessarily peaty that keeps going on for a long time. Great value too.
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby Novice Scotch Fan » Sat May 09, 2009 3:08 am

I used to like this a lot. I still do, but the sherry is so rich, that i find myself drawn to more Islay varieties.
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby lincoln imp » Sat May 09, 2009 1:27 pm

closeup wrote:As i live in Orkney i have had many a hp and i have enjoyed every one i have a couple in my collection ,the one you display (i hate the new bottle shape) the 15 hp is a fabulous malt but the pride of my collection is a Highland park cenentary reserve ,i have bottle unopened but i have sample quite a few of them it has to be the best ever whisky experiance what do other readers think of it


I recently had a head to head with the following
Bicentenary reserve 43%
25yr 50.7%
30yr 48.1%

To be fair they are all excellent but i was glad i opened the Bicentenary as it is a lovely whisky.
The problem is i have spoilt myself now as find the 12yr rather sickly in comparrision and overly sweet.
Anyway the older ones are almost finished :( so i will have to percevier with the 12. :thumbsup:
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby lincoln imp » Sun May 10, 2009 10:56 am

Collector57 wrote:Do you mean the Bicentenary 21yo 1977 or the 8yo Centenary Reserve from G&M?

Nick, it was the Bicentenary 21yr OB :thumbsup:
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby MoreDalmore » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:13 pm

As far as memory serves me well the HP12 was the second malt I tasted!
It still is in my top 10; I like the honey notes and the light smokiness.

I also had the 18 and 15 recently of which I much prefer the 18. I will certainly buy this again soon!! :)

The main differences between the 12, 18 and 15 are explained here much better than I could do .....

http://www.singlemalt.tv/assets/player. ... width=1094


I like the sweetness of the 18 much better than the citrus flavours of the 15...
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby Stewart » Wed Nov 25, 2009 4:02 am

I just cracked a new bottle of HP 12, and it's definitely more peaty or smoky--and more "lively"--than my last bottle of 3 or 4 months ago. Still, delicious! Nearly but not quite as peaty as Taliksker 10, of course (certainly not as sharp of an attack), but reminds me of that--almost similar to Black Bottle, and while I liked BB, I prefer HP 12 to that.

Interesting that the OP should mention a difference between HP 12 bottles. I'm guessing that, with a distillery as famous as HP (or with its good quality control), the taste doesn't vary much, but in some cases it does.

Maybe my old bottle was slightly flat--I guess I'll just have to get a third bottle to make sure!!!
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby MC5 » Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:33 am

Megawatt wrote:
dramtastic wrote: The 16 is close to the worst SM I've tried.


Is the 16 yo really so bad? Thought of buying this, since the 1 liter only costs
about 46 Euros. Anyone else tried it?

I only tried the 12 and 18 and loved them both...
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby Lawrence » Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:34 pm

Megawatt wrote: It's evident from the first nosing that this is heavily sherried, which makes sense because Highland Park uses sherry casks exclusively.


This is incorrect; the HP12 is predominatley bourbon casks with some sherry casks used, the remainder of the line, for the most part, are ex sherry and the Hjarta is bourbon. Don't confuse sweetness and vanilla (from American oak) for sherry.
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby ForPeatsSake » Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:29 am

Lawrence wrote:
Megawatt wrote: It's evident from the first nosing that this is heavily sherried, which makes sense because Highland Park uses sherry casks exclusively.


This is incorrect; the HP12 is predominatley bourbon casks with some sherry casks used, the remainder of the line, for the most part, are ex sherry and the Hjarta is bourbon. Don't confuse sweetness and vanilla (from American oak) for sherry.



Actually Lawrence, Highland Park does NOT use Bourbon casks...
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby DavidUK » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:41 pm

I always thought HP predominately used Sherry casks, but remember that there is such a thing as American Oak sherry casks. They don't HAVE to be European oak.
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby The Third Dram » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:32 pm

DavidUK wrote:...there is such a thing as American oak Sherry casks...

Clarification... In fact, many of the Spanish Sherry producers utilize significant quantities of American oak casks for maturing their wines (often more so than European oak casks). As for Highland Park bottlings, I've been very much enjoying the 15 Year Old Earl Magnus (Edition One) of late. And it's predominantly aged in ex-Sherry American oak!
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Re: Highland Park 12

Postby The Third Dram » Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:42 pm

To a certain extent, Nick, when it comes to Sherry, the key lies in the "S" or "s". Sherry (capital S) is, and has been for some time, a protected term specifically referring to fortified wines from a geographically delineated region (Jerez) of Spain (just as is the case with Port and Madeira from Portugal).

Of course, producers from other parts of the globe have also called their similarly fortified wines sherries or ports for many years - most notably producers in Australia, South Africa, the United States of America (principally California) and, yes, Canada. However, the Spanish government and regulatory bodies have not hesitated to litigate against 'illicit' use of the term 'Sherry' and/or to bring pressure to bear (under the auspices of the European Community) in trade discussions with other countries who have continued to use the term. Australia has already relented. South Africa is negotiating (as far as I'm aware). The United States? I'm not sure.

I've never heard of the use of American oak barrels, which have previously been filled with American 'Sherry' or 'Port', finding their way to malt whisky distilleries/warehouses in Scotland. That would just be TOO weird!
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