Three years ago I already reviewed a Highland Park 12yo. That one was bottled in 2003 at 43% ABV. Today we’ll have a look at another Highland Park 12yo, only this time we have one that was bottled this year at 40% ABV. if you look closely on the (modern) bottle, a laser printed code is discernible. For instance, on this bottle, the code is L0042T L4. The thing to watch for is the letter T. I won’t go to deep into this here, but following the alphabet, P stands for 2012, (Q was skipped), R is 2013, S is 2014 and T, which we have here stands for 2015. So lets see if the people behind Highland Park were able to maintain the quality of their 12yo.
Nose: Barley. Oxidized funky Sherry. Yes, Heather and honey, so it’s still Highland Park people. Nice hint of smoke. Fresh, a breath of fresh air, with plenty of aromatics thrown in. Next a floral and sweet candied yellow and red fruit note appears. Forest strawberries fruit gello. The hints of smoke, the toasted cask, almonds, the funky Sherry, and obviously the heather and honey make this instantaneously recognizable as a Highland Park Whisky. No doubt about it. Do I detect a sort of rural smelling sulfur compound?
Taste: Very sweet and thin. Alas. Smoke and toasted wood, and also some Heather and honey. Just like the Balvenie 12yo, this is a very easily drinkable malt that will not last long. You’ll finish the bottle in no time, no time at all. Nice smoky taste and some woody bitterness. Dark chocolate. This would be a good one to compare to the Benromach 10yo, which also has a smoky note.
Just like the Balvenie, they made this into the entry-level bottling of the range. It is sugary sweet but it does show that it is a Highland Park, and that’s a big plus. Easily recognizable. Compared to Highland Park 12yo’s of the past, it lacks a bit of depth, or maybe that’s because this was bottled at 40% ABV. It has become more user-friendly because it is more sugary and fruity sweet to lure you in like they do with children and candy. But I have no problem with that, since this should be the introduction to Highland Park. If you ask me this is a very modern and popular take on an introduction to a brand of Whisky. Just try the Springbank 10yo as an introduction to Springbank and you’ll know what I mean.