Monday, August 17, 2009

Highland Park 12 year old - Single Malt Scotch Review

I am going to out on a limb here, but I gotta say it. Hell, declare it! Highland Park 12 yr, is the best 12 year old single malt out there. You can be in Glasgow, Tokyo, New York, Munich, Dubai, I don't care. None of the whisky purveyors will be able to point to a better 12 year old single malt. None! and if they do, you will know they are a liar having read this review.

Having gotten the above off my chest, let's move to this wonderful dram that I just happen to be holding and coincidentally beholding in a whisky tumbler. This is fabulous stuff! When Puff Daddy, P Diddy, Sean John, or whatever his latest moniker is, is not out pimping some lame vodka, this is the stuff he is serving at his parties where you get turned away in Cannes for not being cool enough at the door.

This is not the stuff for the pimply/pizza faced college kid with Cheezies encrusted fingers playing Guitar Hero by himself, in his parent's basement, sealing his fate to remain without a girlfriend for yet another weekend, and therefore involuntarily celibate.

This is the stuff for you! If you are new to whisky and scotch, and heck don't even know the difference. You just want something to drink at a high end/art deco bar when you have to make an appearance at a work function where the advertising guys all wear black turtlenecks, black jeans, listen to Bronski Beat's Smalltown Boy on their Ipods, and seem to be more interested in the wait staff than the clients that were the reason they were there in the first place. You gotta down a drink, nod at the pleasantries and think, how the &*%@#!! do I get out of here before the 40yr old middle managers, sloshed on the open bar get slapped with a harrassment suit from that hot temp in photocopying quicker than a lawyer's pulse races at the whiny sound of an ambulance in the distance. Well, the drink is Highland Park 12 yr. Ladies, you're invited too. Highland Park has legions of fans on both sides of the gender fence and for good reason. Let's take a drink and see why . . .

Nose (undiluted)
Bring the tumbler's edge to your nose and gently inhale (using your nose, this is not meditation or some downward facing dog position). Yes, it's nice. Now remember, gently take another sniff, you are not Keith Richards and this is not a line of cocaine on some chubby groupies' breast. Restrain yourself! Ok, let's try again. You're picking up tendrils of sweet cereals! Healthy stuff.

What else is your olfactory system sending to your cerebral cortex? Yes! Yes! Oh! Yes! No, I'm not doing a Meg Ryan imitation, but I am excited because you've noticed a spiciness or spice-like character, not pepper, but something else, maybe cloves. Maybe, just maybe the scent of this fine spirit hints at what awaits the palate.

Palate (undiluted)
You're gazing at this amber liquid in your tumbler, now you're drinking this "neat" (a fancy word to use around the VP that let's him know you know a thing or two about whisky, even if you don't), so remember to take a little sip. This is not Gatorade. Take that sip . . . now! Ok, ok, well . . . Yes! That's right! smokey brown sugar, (no we are not talking politically incorrect Rolling Stone hits), marzipan (look it up on Wikipedia, ok!, I'll do it for you, "a confection of sugar and almond meal - nice Italian treat!), what else are you tasting? Subtle caramel moving to heather and finishing with a spicness, which might be characterized as a gentle dance of weak chili peppers upon your tongue.

Finish (undiluted)
Butterscotch/cinnamon flavors evaporate in a puff of smoke across the palate with a little tingle on the tip of your tongue, followed by the feeling that you just enjoyed a fine cigar. The smoky flavor remains more than a minute after you swallowed the last of it. What length? A scotch of John Holmes proportions.

Be Careful
At an alcohol/volume level of 43%, you have to take it easy, otherwise, the advertising guys will be eyeing you guys like a hyena waits for the lone gazelle calf to collapse on the savannah . . . and ladies, the VP seems distracted from his current conversation, as he keeps looking over at you, even though your conversation with him ended sometime after you used the word "neat." I said Neat not neet. Needless to say, Highland Park 12 yr old packs a wallop that will send you sprawling after two modestly poured drinks.

General Impressions
Aromatic, aristocratic, smooth with some spiciness on the finish. Nothing offends in this dram. It is very textured in flavor and while smooth, if you are a novice Scotch enthusiast the addition of water or ice is understandable. If you are new to whisky and want to try the much praised single malts, then this is the dram. The chief failing of single malt scotch whisky is that it tends to have some variance of flavors between different bottlings.  Some bottles I have enjoyed seem more sherried than others.  Nevertheless, Highland Park 12 year old demonstrates how single malts do have a legitimate claim to a higher ground in your mind and palate. It provides no discordant mixture of flavors, no burn, no alcohol, just a glow on a summer's evening like a firefly. Fleeting but worth the trouble.

You can pay anywhere between roughly $35 to $91 a bottle. Is it worth it? Yes, up to about $60. After $60 you can probably find 18yr old single malts that are better. But for a 12 yr old single malt, there is no match to this scotch whisky. Bottom line: Good value!

Suggested Serving
If you are new to scotch and want to try a single malt, this is an excellent one to start with. For you newbies, try it with one large or two small ice cubes. For you scotch fans, neat is the way to go.

Bottom Line
An excellent 12 year old single malt, reasonably priced, not much peat flavor, but rather a smokey smooth, honey sweet dram with some spice on the finish that is sure to delight men and women alike.


Jason Debly

Photo credits: (1) Photo of Highland Park 12 bottle by Flickr member magerleauges who has graciously permitted its reproduction pursuant to a creative commons license. (2) Frame shot from the film When Harry Met Sally....  Copyright held by the film company or artist but used here for the purposes of nostalgia, education and entertainment.  (3)    Another photo of Highland Park 12 (copyright © 2012 Livefire Photography/Curt McAdams). Used in this post with the permission of Curt McAdams. No reproduction is permitted without the express consent of Curt McAdams. Check out his blog for more great photography and musings on scotch whisky: here. Final Nore:  All images used are considered by the author to be significant in illustrating the subject matter, facilitating artistic/critical commentary, as it provides an immediate relevance to the reader more capably than the textual description
© Jason Debly, 2009-2013. All rights reserved.


  1. Hey Jason - nice blog, please keep it going.

    A little about me: I've never had "hard" liquor neat before - an occasional sip in younger years which usually repulsed me. In fact, my hard liquor was limited to an occasional margarita or whiskey sour, but mostly a beer or glass of wine.

    I was buying single malt for a gift and while in the store they brought me over to the back where they were having a single malt tasting. I told them I was interested in the Highland 12 year (got good reviews on your blog and others and was pretty inexpensive). They didn't have that but gave me a Bowmore 15 to taste - thank goodness I read on your blog to "sip" and not swig like soda. It was still not pleasant - not terrible but nothing to start me drinking whiskey straight. I noticed they had a Laphroaig 18 and commented on it. They gave me a little bit of that then. What a difference - instant love. Ok, the only complaint is after 15 minutes I felt like my mouth had been sitting in front of a camp fire - the smoke lingers forever.

    Needless to say, I bought the Highland 12 for a gift and one for me (it had a little bottle of 18 with it as well).

    This stuff is great - kind of like nectar from heaven. The only problem is I want a little snifter every night - I feel like the smell and taste and aftertaste is just addictive. I'm afraid to try the 18 in case it will pull me to want it during the day. OK - I'm just kidding (but not) because I'm not much of a drinker as I said. But this stuff is really really good. I don't think I ever would have "worked up" to it from simple or great bourbon - totally different - I went straight to the smoky peat malt and found love.

    Also, I found the addition of water actually defeats the pleasant sweet overtones and makes the alcohol harsher.

  2. Hi! Ripley! Great long comment! Awesome to learn that you are getting into hard liquor. It has so many advantages over say beer like no gassed up feeling, no weight gain, and a little goes a long way!

    Anyway, I too have never been much of a fan of the Bowmore 15yrs. I think it doesn't sell particularly well and that is why your merchant may have been handing it out for free.

    Yes, little sips are a must when trying whisky but I would also add a tall glass of water handy too! You mentioned that your palate felt like it had been exposed to a campfire for too long! LOL! That could have been prevented if you took a big swig of water in between sips of whiskey. The water clears the palate for the next whisky sip, and it also rehydrates you, preventing a headache the next morning.

    As I said in my tasting note, I think Highland Park 12yr old is probably the best 12 yr old single malt on the market right now for those who like big smoke, toffee and caramel flavors.

    The 18 year old is stellar and basically the 12 on steroids. You will find the 18 more peppery and might benefit from the addition of a little water.

    You observed that water did not improve the Highland Park 12 yr old and that very well may be the case for you. Some single malts benefit from the addition of water while others do not. Cragganmore 12yrs (another one of my favorites) and Glenlivet 18 develop tremendous complexity with the addition of a little water (ie. half a teaspoon to one full tsp).

    Glad you like the blog and feel free to continue to post your comments or email me. Welcome to the great world of blended and single malt scotch!



  3. I'm a relative newcomer to scotch, and as I drink HP 12 for the first time right now, I have to say you're right on. Of the 12 y.o.'s I've had, this one is definitely the best, and for the price, seems to be a bargain.

    Have you tried the HP 15 or 18?

  4. Daniel! Welcome aboard the whisky cruise ship. Just takes one sip and you're hooked and will commence a life long adventure.

    HP 15 and 18 are great also. The HP 18 is most similar to the 12. It's like the 12 but punched up a notch.

    The 15 is much more subtle and I believe finished in boubon casks. I really like it.

    My review of the 18 is on this blog. The 15 is not yet done.


  5. Jason I just tried this an it is very smooth and buttery on the palate, something I really like. I didn't like the amount of smoke though. Would there be another similar scotch without that much smoke?

  6. Less smoke, but just as buttery and smooth . . .hmmm . . . try Highland Park 15 (but it's not cheap). Other single malts that I think you would like would be Dalwhinnie 15, Cragganmore 12 and Glenfiddich 15 Solera.

  7. Hi Jason,

    Here I am back on the HP12 page...I'm getting down to about 1/3 of my bottle and almost picked up a new one for $41.

    But...I branched out again and picked up a Talisker 10yo for $47. Not much branching because this exists in the "smokey/peat" realm as well. I'm wondering if you have tried this?

    It's quite smooth for being 45.8%, but it is BIG - nose taste finish - big smoke that is. It feels like it will be chewier than the HP, but isn't quite. But like the HP, it's great for a long roll in the mouth.

    I need another round with this because it feels like there is complexity I'm missing - maybe because the smoke is so intense. With the HP everything is balanced so nicely I don't feel the smoke or peat is overpowering. But I do really like this Talisker as well so far.

    It does make me realize however, that the HP12 is just fantastic, and an amazing deal at $41.

  8. Yo! Ripley,

    I have tried the Talisker 10yr old on a couple of different occasions (in bars and at whisky festivals) and while I recognized it as a decent single malt, I can't say I am in awe of it. Talisker, as I recall, is smokey/peaty with salt and peppercorns on the finish. Not bad, but not great. But! I don't own a bottle.

    I review scotches and other whiskies on this blog based on sampling a bottle (over a period of time of course). An impression in a bar or based on a tasting at a whisky festival can be highly unreliable. So, I reserve judgment for now. Certainly, I will pick up a bottle eventually and do a posting based on tasting notes from sampling a bottle of Talisker 10.

    As for HP12, it is great a great single malt. I and my friend George have revisited this old favorite as of late. It indeed stands up. Another one you should try is the HP15. Probably my favorite.

    Anyway, happy scotch hunting!

  9. Well, after a few more tastings, I have to say I don't think the Talisker 10 measures up at all to the HP12 in quality or value. For me it seems to work best with about 1/4 water and ice, which opens it up a bit without the overwhelming smoke. That way it is quite good and, don't get me wrong, I do like it. Of course the water and ice would butcher the HP.

    I'll look for the HP15 next time I have a chance to buy, or maybe the Craggenmore if I can find it, although I'm dying to try (more than just a sample in a plastic cup) an Islay like Lagavulin etc.

  10. Ripley, my current favorite of them all is Cragganmore 12. Just a perfect dram. A classic speyside.

    Lagavulin is the best of the Islay malts in my opinion. Go to a bar and try it.

    HP 15, as I said before is my favorite of the HP range. Most like the 18 better, but not me.

    If you are unsure of your next purchase, make it the Cragganmore 12. Incredible!

  11. I have to agree with the great Michael Jackson. (NOT the musician) He called Highland Park 12 year old: "The greatest all-rounder in the world of malt whiskey".

    If you don't like this, you won't like scotch. Period.

    My personal favorite. I go for more oak, or more smoke, or more peat from time to time, but then always come back to Highland Park 12. Like a reliable old friend.

  12. Jason
    I love your blog and your taste. I knew I would after reading your review of Buffalo Trace(a gem for the cost in the bourbon world).I have learned a lot. I tried HP 12 on your recommendation, as your tastes are close to mine. VERY NICE is all I can say. I love the mixture of sweetness, smoke and spices. I am enjoying a dram now on my B-day.
    My brother is coming down and I have been hyping HP 12.He is looking forward to trying it(if it lasts till then). Both of us are new to scotch, we only drink for the taste. Your reviews have been spot on, thank you.


  13. I'm a newcomer to the whole scotch thing as well, and I know it's like putting ketchup on a steak in Texas, is having HP 12 on ice that bad. I love the stuff, i just like it better over ice..... So at a serious bar would i be shunned for my sin of having it on the rocks???

  14. Having HP 12 with ice is entirely up to you. Since you like it that way, I would encourage you to continue to do so. Over time your tastes may evolve to the point that you just want one ice cube, and maybe one day none. That's what happened to me, but it was a process over a number of years.

    You will not be shunned for adding ice to your single malt. Some snobs will turn up their nose, but to hell with them. Remember, every man has to march to the beat of his own drum!

  15. HP 12 is by far my favorite single malt I have tried so far. I have not had that many, but it is above and beyond anything else I've tried. I took it to a friend's house and we had some of it and then got out some Glenfiddich 12 yr. No comparison at all. I honestly couldn't bear to take another sip of the Glenfiddich.

    However, after cleansing my palate with some water, he brought out some Cragganmore 12 yr. A vast improvement, and although different than the HP, very good as well. The HP still has my heart for now. I need to find a liquer store that carries the HP 15 so I can try that next, as I'm sure I will enjoy that too. I'll be sure to come back and check out your blog some more in the future.

  16. Hi Ben!

    Just a suggestion, but you may find your ability to appreciate different whiskies is diminished when doing so in the same evening. What I mean, is try devoting one night to Cragganmore and another night to Glenfiddich. That way you can really get a good sense of them. I agree that Glenfiddich is not as good as HP 12, however, they are very different whiskies with quite a difference in price.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.


  17. I usually don't do it that way. I agree. It is better to focus just on one at a time. We did make sure to cleanse our palates between trying each of them. The next bottle I plan on buying will either be the HP 15 or Lagavulin 16. Some day, when I have a little more cash I plan on getting the HP 25. Where I am, the price between HP 12 and Glenfiddich is really not that much so I'd definitely go with the HP every time. Also on my list of future scotches to try is Johnny Walker Green.

    Just reading a few of your posts has taught me a lot and given me a lot of ideas for what to try next. Keep up the good work :)

  18. Let me just say first off that I love your reviews here. You put in a lot of detail into each review. I find myself having similar tastes to you, haha.

    I am fairly new to scotch drinking, but I love the stuff. Highland Park 12 yr was the first bottle I'd ever owned and even first scotch I'd ever tried.

    This past year I was just finishing my undergraduate work, doing research in a chemistry lab. A graduate student I was working with bought me the bottle of Highland Park 12 yr. She said she bought it because she knew I smoked cigars and pipe tobacco and her next thought was scotch to go with it. Well she definitely picked a good one.

    I agree with what you say in your "recommendations for newcomers" blog that this scotch may be a bit overwhelming for newbies. After my initial shock of the power of this scotch, I grew to love it very quickly. That smokey, honey finish is spectacular. And it really does pair very well with cigars and pipe, haha. I think I will have to try the 18 yr given your praise of it.

    My next purchase will be the Cragganmore 12 yr I think. I tried some a friend had purchased and I think it is quite good.

    I do have a question. What are your thoughts or experiences with decanters? I bought an inexpensive, used crystal decanter with the thought that it would look nice/classy on my bookshelf. However, my concern is that the scotch may evaporate or change taste too much. So any thoughts you have on the matter would be appreciated.

    Thank you again for your reviews. Your blog is the first place I come to when researching a scotch. I look forward to many more reviews from you.

  19. Hello Ethan, glad you like the site. Appreciate it.

    With respect to decanters, there is a bit of controversy about whisky decanters. The controvery centres around the issue of lead content and leaching into the spirit itself. Here is a post I wrote about it:

    Or you can search "lead" on this site to find the post.

    As for taste, placing whisky in a clean decanter will not affect the taste, so long as the cover is kept on it.

    Thanks for commenting!


  20. Hey Jason,

    Thanks for the quick response. I was aware of the dangers of lead exposure due to leaching from lead crystal. I was not aware of your discussion of it, so thank you for posting that one.

    Fortunately, the decanter I purchased is one from the Ravenscroft Crystal company. They, claim that their decanters are lead-free. Being used, it came with no box or paperwork, so I'll have to do a little research and see if the one I have is for sure lead-free. But perhaps it's better to be safe than sorry and just use it for special occasions.

  21. Just find the manufacturer's website and email them directly. They can give you the specs.

    But, otherwise, storing scotch in crystal decanter does not affect the whisky taste in any way. At least that has been my experience.

  22. anyone explain HP12 too me further?
    is it 'mealy'
    (glenlivet,teachers, bruichladdie)
    or 'thinner' in mouth
    (laproig 40%).
    is it too dry like pultney

    are there coffee or cream notes. like walker black.

    oh does empty glass have it own unique smell to it.

  23. Hi Anonymous,

    What really sets Highland Park 12 apart from the rest of the 12 year old single malts is the taste of 'heather.' Heather is a low lying, flowering bush that some believe imparts its presence into the local water that is sourced for this malt.

    Another way to understand this taste that I call 'heather' is to imagine the taste of rose petals and other flowers. HP12 is very unique in this sense and does take some getting used to.

    So, soldier on and I suspect that by the time you get to the bottom of the bottle you will have a new favorite!

  24. I'm liking your blog! If I had a bit more time I'd be doing something similar. I'm busy selling wine and spirits, though, so that's a plus! I've been reading about HP and particularly HP12 for so long, I've been very anxious to try it.

    One night after work some friends and I went to a pub we hadn't been to before and lo and behold, they had HP12! What can I say. I didn't have my Glencairn with me but even out of the standard tumbler, it was manna from heaven. I love my peat but for everyday drinking, this would be my go-to for sure. Perfectly balanced. Some sweet heather, some smoke, some salt/brine and some peat. As Mr. Jackson rightly stated, it has it all.

    My regular shop has the 15 and I got one yesterday. I'm actually heading over to another shop to get the 12 right now. I think I've found my new baseline whisky.

  25. I think you really missed out on this whisky. Your tastes of course matter, and I respect if this one just doesn't meet your preferences, but I got a nice dried fruit, strong nuttiness, mixed with spice and the "sea water". I am a novice and I always love a good lashing of those who purport to be experts but are more windbag than expert. But in this case, I think there is a reason people tout this whisky as a great value, good for beginners who want to learn something, and still appreciable for more seasoned whisk(e)y drinkers.

    1. Hi Caleb, I think I said a couple times in my review that Highland Park 12 is an excellent whisky for novices to sink their teeth into (please see the second to last paragraph of the post entitled "Suggested Serving"). Any how, it is a big single malt that some novices may find to be too big. Anyway, a great one for many newbies also.

      In any case, welcome to the blog and I hope you will continue to comment!

  26. Hi Jason,

    Some of life's biggest decisions occur in liquor stores, don't they? I had a hard time deciding between HP 12 and Cragganmore 12 as both of your reviews hold both in high regard. I decided to go with HP 12 for now. I was not disappointed! This is a fantastic malt that brought back a lot of memories of other whiskies: Talisker 10, Glenlivet 12, and Macallan 12 to name a few.

    When I first opened the bottle it smelled of sherry. I'm not sure where I stand with sherry. I've only been drinking alcohol for a few months, and my first experience with sherry was pretty bad. It may be a taste I have to grow into. But a day after the bottle was opened, that sherry smell and taste kind of softened and as I was studying another dram of HP 12, a taste very similar to a (Riesling?) white wine hit my palate. I've never had a scotch remind me of wine yet ... that was very cool. It is indeed a very smooth malt! I would definitely take this any day over, say, Macallan 12.

    I look forward to trying HP 15 and HP 18. Especially HP 15. Here HP 15 is about $70 a bottle. HP 12 is $43. Not too bad, I guess.

    I also read on HP's website that they don't add any coloring to their whisky, so to me that was a plus. I like things as pure and straight as possible.

    I'm in awe of your tasting notes. I could never come up with or differentiate things like "sweet cereals, damp leaves, heather, weak chili peppers dancing upon my tongue." I hope that developing good tasting notes is something that comes with time ... perhaps my nose is plugged and I just don't know it, haha.

    Thanks for these reviews. Your blog is the first place I come to check out a whisky!

    1. I am pleased to read you are enjoying Highland Park 12. It certainly is a big step up from Glenlivet and Macallan 12.

      Cragganmore is great too but for different reasons. It is much gentler and restrained with a soft honeyed buttercup profile.

      You are correct to note the sherry as it is a clear component of Highland Park 12.
      Matter of fact, the spirit making up HP 12 is aged 100% in ex-sherry casks, and those casks are American and European oak. The different oak wood imparts different flavors too.

      I also do find that HP 12 and 18 can be very robust, even hot, when opening the first time but will settle down nicely when you return to them a couple of days later.

      The addition of a little water never hurts with Highland Park bottlings. Start with a 1/4 of a teaspoon and see if it brings out more flavor.

      As for detecting different flavors, that will come with time, time well spent that is!

      Thank you for taking the time to post your impressions, besides myself, other readers benefit from your thoughts.


    2. Hi Jason,

      Thanks for your reply! As you probably get many comments to reply to, I appreciate your taking the time to reply to mine!

      I did add water as you suggested. I found that the water improved the finish on HP 12, though I still enjoy it neat very much.

      You're right; HP 12 (at least the recent bottlings) are quite sherried and hot upon opening. It took about three days for my bottle to "calm down." My love for this whisky has grown day by day ... sadly, there is not much left of it! So far, of all the whisky I've tried, this is my favorite. But I still need to try more. Many more.

      One question for you that I'd appreciate an answer to: regardless of price, which one should I try next-- HP 15 or HP 18. I have no doubt that I will enjoy both, but I'm curious to know what you think.


    3. Bryan, the vast majority of people I know prefer the Highland Park 18 over the 15. I am in the minority, as I much prefer the 15.

      HP 18 is in some ways HP12 on steroids. If you like that big sherry, but want even more smoke, the 18 will work very well.

      HP15 uses American oak casks that contributes to a more subtle flavor profile that I seem to prefer. They are both great, so you cant really go wrong. I have reviewed HP 15, so maybe have a look at that before deciding.


  27. Jason, I am a big fan of your blog, and your prose. As I've read more of your blog, I have learned that you are a lawyer. That makes sense that you would choose a profession that rewards well chosen words and the ability to effortlessly paint a picture with them.

    I have slowly started to enjoy and explore Whisky over the last few years, starting with the best of the cheapies, and working up from there. I've been eyeing the Highland Park 12, as it is quite competitively priced in Australia. We do tend to get bent over and reamed though wrt alcohol prices in general.

    I do find it interesting how people like yourself like to pick out the flavours. I guess it is possible, though I am not particularly good at it. Or rather, I find that attempting to do so gets in the way of and detracts from my enjoyment. I like instead to let the flavours kind of wash over me. Kind of in the same manner one might listen to complex music that one has listened to enough times to know intimately. For example some of the later Tool, in my case. The Lateralus album, and the tracks from the title track onward. You get in a trance, and the music takes you on a journey.*

    Where am I going with this? I just had some Highland Park 12 for the first time. From the first taste, I was held in a kind of thrall. This is something different. Is it just confirmation bias from reading your review, and the 4.9 rating on Dan Murphy's? No. Not at all. After about 15 or 20 seconds from my first sip, I'm thinking... this... GOOOOOOD! The kind of buzz resulting from this is more akin to a joint than any whisky I've tried to date. And I'm totally not expecting this at all. Now, I don't think I've had any pot for a decade or more, and then not a lot. Not proud of that and don't want to do it again. But that's the kind of feeling I'm getting.

    Now, I realize it's obviously not pot. No time dilation effect. Not the same sort of extreme soak into the couch type feeling. No psychoactive component. But definitely, a nice buzz, a buzz that's pretty amazing in the scheme of things.

    And the flavours just roll around, echo and cascade for 30 seconds or more and settle into more of that gentle buzz. It's great! And so balanced, as is widely commented on. (If Highland Park was a music track, there would be no clipping at all.) I'm sipping this neat and really, really enjoying it. I don't know how you can have 2 shots worth in a single dram. I have half a shot, just savouring it and it can last an hour and a half.

    In any case, this is really good. Highly recommended. Thanks for all your efforts, and appreciate you reviewing in an unbiased way, without taking freebies.

    *I'm glad you do what you do, but writing out tasting notes in the middle of recreational whisky sipping would be like listening to some of your favourite music and trying to identify the instruments and writing out a score.

    1. I wrote this review of Highland Park 12 three years ago and I still stand by it. It really is the best 12 year old single malt for me. Really like the broad flavor spectrum, the treacle, the toffee, the sea mist, the distinctive & signature heather of this great distillery.

      Where I live, Highland Park 12 is reasonably priced, but it is so good that even if the price was 15% more, I would still gladly pay. Hopefully, your price is not too prohibitive.

      Writing tasting notes are never a pain for me. Before I write them, I usually have been sampling the bottle for quite a while.

      Anyway, I am glad you enjoy the blog and hope you will continue to comment in the future.


  28. Hi Jason, I enjoy your reviews but I need to point out that this Whisky is 40% and not 43% as stated. I'm looking forward to tasting it based on your excellent review.

    1. Hi Carl, the Highland Park 12 I tasted was at 43%. The photos I used in this post show 40%. Here is a link to an actual photo of HP 12 at 43%:

      The ABV of a single malt is sometimes dependent upon the part of the world that a distillery company is trying to make sales in. In New Brunswick Canada it was 43% but maybe where you are it is 40%. Certainly they are selling it at 40% in some markets. Good point that you have drawn to my attention. I intend to review this again and I certainly hope it is not 40% where I live as that can significantly affect flavor and complexity.

      Thanks for commenting!