Highland Park 12yo (43%, OB, Circa 2003)

Remember this one? Before this came the nice broad-shouldered bottle with the big knob cork. And somehow they changed it into this. We hated the looks of it back then, but looking at it today it doesn’t look that bad. Well this version of the bottle is also no more and again they changed the looks completely into something that looks oval from above.

For me the ditching of the wide neck bottle also seemed to be the ditching of the plain old good quality. With this bottle came the downfall of the standard Highland Parks. The 12yo, the 18yo and all the others that came after that. A lot of single cask versions were released around that time, so we all can take a guess why the standards got pretty weak don’t we? Well let’s have a look back and see if this was any good.

Color: Slightly Orange Gold (Caramel)

Nose: The obvious heather and honey. Nicely floral. Almonds. Quite sweet (sherried) and nice balance. Sometimes dusty and powdery. Nice balance, still a good recognizable Highland Park. Lovely.

Taste: Sweet, nutty, slightly sour, chewy, with small hints of smoke and tar. Yeah, this still is very good whisky. Creamy mocha, green apple and a little bit of wood. Alas it breaks down a bit in the end, and the finish is a bit weak. Gone quickly. That’s a shame, but I’m happy it still is a Highland Park, and taste wise that’s very good news. Still if you want an even better one, have a go at a wide neck bottle. Still a lot of those around.

I’ve already claimed this isn’t as good as it once was. Actually compared to a lot of official bottlings they are churning out today, this was pretty good, but still the downfall is marked. This one got weak in the finish and later releases also suffered in the taste department. This brings tears to my eyes because Highland Park used to be fabulous, please come back!

Points: 85

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