Hi everyone. I've tried this a few times now and wanted to share my thoughts on it. I recently downed a bottle with dad that I bought as a promotional item, which also included a 50ml bottle of HP 18yrs.
Firstly, I realise that peat and smoke isn't really my thing in whisky. Neither is particularly the assortment of sherry matured whiskies. I realise that I like a straight oak cask matured whisky. So far, my 2 favourites are The Glenlivet Nadurra and Yamazaki 12yrs.
And I have to say, that to me as a novice, I find the idea of both a peated and sherry cask matured whisky to be bizarre. But I can say that in the Highland Park 12yrs, it works! The light peat palate is beautifully balanced by the sherry cask, which is why I think I liked it as I don't particularly like either straight peat or a sweet palate with sherry maturation.
The small sample of HP 18yrs was even better. Whereas in the HP 12yrs, the peat and sweet palate were 2 distinct entities, in the HP 18yrs they just meld together, rather than balance and complement each other as in the HP 12yrs. Well that's my impression, I don't know if anyone would agree with me on that.
I believe Ardmore also have a lightly peated and sherry cask matured whisky, albeit with no vintage. I'm thinking of trying this also to compare it to the HP 12yrs.
Also, I would regard the Highland Park 12yrs as the best value for money quality single malt whisky. Where I am, it's $63. The next cheapest quality malts are the Dalwhinnie and Cragganmore 12yrs, both around $75. The rest of the whisky range starts at about $85. I think $63 is excellent value for money considering the huge reputation and awards that the HP 12yrs has accrued. There's only a couple of other single malts cheaper such as the Aberlour 10yrs ($50) but of course they don't have anywhere near the reputation and quality of the HP 12yrs.