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Highland Park 12 Year Old (old label)

Average score from 3 reviews and 11 ratings 83

Highland Park 12 Year Old (old label)

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Highland Park 12 Year Old (old label)

I picked this bottle up about two and a half years ago so it is the older dumpy style bottle and likely bottled around 2015/16. I need say no more.

Review is neat and bottle's been open a few months with about two thirds gone

Nose - First thing I notice is that familiar sour and quite sharp pineapple note on a lightly smoked, malty base. Some honey and a little floral note as well. There's also a rather unfortunate nip of alcohol that is pretty poor for a whisky like HP at 40% in my book.

Taste - The arrival is quite promising with the honey, peat and pineapple singing loudly but then it does get rather quiet rather quickly. Thin, in other words.

Finish - Medium at a push with some tannins, a little peaty nip and more tart fruit.

I've said elsewhere on here that this is my least favourite bottle of the 12 so far (I'd usually be scoring in the 83 - 86 range) and I'm a bit gutted I opened it as I have one of the newer ones in the stash I could easily have popped instead. I doubt these will rise too much in value and didn't see the point in getting sentimental - now I wish I had, one never knows. Still, not bad and, as ever, in the UK at least, a fairly decent value for money all-rounder.

this one has lost it's shine for me too. I guess it has some fond memories for me as something of a gateway single malt but it just doesn't offer that much now - especially at 40% as we get it

Still love the old bottlings of HP12 but I’m sad to say I completely agree with you here. They got worse towards the end. Sadder still I believe the newer, snazzier bottling is even worse. Not that it’s bad mind you ... old HP started so high it has a long way to fall before it falls out of grace in my humble opinion. Highland Park and The distillery next door (Scapa) have both sacrificed quality and taste in favour of filling Tesco and Sainsbury’s shelves and it’s a dire shame in my opinion as they were my favourite distilleries. Great review as always mate!


I bought a bottle of the Highland Park 12 Viking whatever when it first came to Ontario's shores, reaving, ransacking, and pillaging. I had planned on getting one of the remaining non-Viking HP12 bottlings to do a H2H, but alas, I was too late, so no Ye Olde Highlande Parke for me...until @fiddich1980 got me a sample of the pre-Viking HP. Many thanks to him for the sample (from batch L0514W) whence comes this review.

Tasting Notes

  • Nose (undiluted): oloroso sherry is front and center, red fruit, orange zest, cocoa powder, soft peat smoke, floral notes, like little white spring flowers (hey, I'm not a botanist)
  • Palate (undiluted): gentle arrival, lots of red fruit, a touch of honey, floral peat, a bit of smoke, very rounded
  • Finish: medium length, somewhat drying, milk chocolate, roasted almonds, a pronounced minerality, a touch of dry smoke lingering

With water, there's a little brine on the nose. It gets peatier on the palate and finish with water added. More so than the new Viking 12, but it's really a subtle difference.

This is (was?) a jack-of-all-trades whisky, but it was also Master of None. Pleasant, enjoyable, but not a whisky I craved or dreamed about.

Nice H2H you've just done! I've got an Old label 12 on the go (@40% though) and would rate it pretty much as you. It's a decent whisky but, and you can probably guess what's coming, it really doesn't help itself with its presentation.

Often on sale for £25 in the UK so not a bad malt for that price.


The flagship of Highland Park, the distillery on Orkney, is undoubtedly their 12 Year Old. We are tasting it from a dumpy bottle from the beginning of the century (2003 or 2004).

The nose is triple F: fresh, fruity and pretty floral, with honey, oranges but formost a bouquet of wilde flowers. Think dandelions in a field. Also some malt and heather. The island character takes a while to reveal itself, but after a few moments woodsmoke a whiff of Orkney peat pops out. All of this is very soft and gentle, though.

It is very light on the palate. A bit too light to my taste. Meager body and that is a pity. Soft and very sweet on honey, a load of citrus, but little else. Turns a tad too bitter too soon. Light on smoke.

In the medium long, warming finish, the peat finally florishes.

This is all very gently, but then it is their entry level malt. A classic with a great nose. Today, this bottling will easily set you back around 75 to 100 EUR. Phew!

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