Re: Highland Park 12
There's good and not-so-good oak to be found, whether it be ex-Bourbon, ex-Sherry, American, European or otherwise.
The fact that a producer utilizes ex-Sherry European oak casks for maturing its whisky doesn't necessarily imply the resulting high quality of the spirit that goes into the bottle. Plus, experts in wood maturation for whiskies seem to be increasingly focusing on the greater importance of the oak itself relative to the effects of what sort of other spirit or fortified wine might have previously rested in that oak.
Also, if one traces maturation trends back to the 19th-Century, one sees that preferences for one sort of cask/barrel over another tend to move in cycles. And these cycles are often largely driven by economics. Presently, high quality oak barrels of any ilk are steadily rising in cost.