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Highland Park 12 Year Old

HP 12 Time Study

0 886

@VictorReview by @Victor

20th Jul 2011

0

  • Nose
    20
  • Taste
    23
  • Finish
    21
  • Balance
    22
  • Overall
    86

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

The reviewed bottle of HP 12 has been open for about 8 months. This review is meant to give a perspective on the whisky over 8 months time.

Nose: at bottle first opened, slight to moderate nose with a little grassy barley grain and a little peat. At 8 months, there is very rich honey, strong high-pitched wine, malted barley mostly in the background, and just a hint of peat.

Taste: the freshly opened bottle yielded moderate peat, very muted malted barley flavour, a little salt and no more than the very slightest hint of honey sweetness. At 8 months, there is a huge honey sweetness, a full delicious barley-malt flavour, a little salt, and moderate peat. The difference in the flavours at the two time observation points is enormous. What is extremely impressive to me about Highland Park 12, and every Highland Park whisky which I have tasted, is the QUALITY of the barley flavour. All barley does not taste the same, or even very good. The same is true of peat. Highland Park's barley, is, in my opinion, exceptionally delicious.

Finish: the newly opened bottle's muted taste led to a rather muted finish. Pleasant, but not impressive. At 8 months the finish is rich, sweet, long, and luxurious, with all of the flavours fading out slowly together.

Balance: this is a great example of how much whiskies change after the bottles are opened, and the need to observe whiskies over time in order to allow a whisky to show its full character, before reaching too strong or conclusive a judgment as to its characteristics and its merits. I have seen quite a few whiskies now that have greatly altered flavour profile after anywhere between a couple of weeks and a couple of years. Sometimes I now think that every review ought to give references as to how long the bottle of the reviewed whisky was open, when the reviewed sample was tasted, whether there have been any observations of changes in the whisky in tastings over time, and what those time periods were. If I had reviewed this bottle in the first few months after it was opened I would have scored it at 78-80 pts. Now, at 8 months, I taste in Highland Park 12 yo the classic delicious whisky that so many love. Review scores are for the bottle at 8 months open.

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8 comments

@wylcx
wylcx commented

My bottle of Highland Park 12 yr old has also been opened for about 8 months. It doesn't taste as peaty now and has lost its brown sugar flavour that I loved. I also don't get that bittersweet aftertaste as much as I used to. However it's still better than many other Scotches.

8 years ago 0

@wylcx
wylcx commented

Wish I could edit my post above. I just tried the Highland Park 12 year old again and it was very mellow. This time it had flavours of sherry, peat, brown sugar, oak and that lovely bittersweet aftertaste.

Obviously what I have to eat/drink before can really affect my palate.

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@wylcx, yes, there is noticeable sherry-wine flavour on the palate and going into the finish in the fully opened bottle which I have as well. In the first few months of the bottle open I really could not taste any wine flavours on the palate at all. And, yes, I agree with you also that there is also a bitter note which lasts through the finish, along with the sweetness. The bitter note gives a nice balance to the sweetness, for those who can accept a little bitter in the mix.

8 years ago 0

@CaptinTom
CaptinTom commented

Good to see a comparative review, very interesting.

8 years ago 0

Toastbongo commented

I'm looking forward to tasting this after 8 months - do you mind if I pinch your idea and add a bit of comparison to my review? It's a really good way of reviewing how whiskies evolve.

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Toastbongo, by all means, do compare the whiskies you review over time. I think that this subject deserves much more attention than it receives, as I stated in the review, above. The human mind likes to think simplistically, but whiskies have many variables that affect our experiences of them, taste evolution after the bottles are opened being one of the most important.

8 years ago 0

Toastbongo commented

@Victor I agree - for some sentimental reason I still have a slosh of my first ever bottle of whisky (Ledaig sherry cask no age statement). It's been open for about 8 years which is perhaps a little long but, much to my surprise, it's still delicious and has changed completely. Obviously it's far less harsh as I'm sure a reasonable portion of the alcohol has evaporated but its flavours have evolved admirably.

Sadly it's not available any more - I contacted Burn Stewart but they had none left - but it would have been interesting to be able to compare it to a new bottle.

8 years ago 0

@cpstecroix
cpstecroix commented

The HP 12 did the same thing for me and was my first experience of such a remarkable change from first opening to several months on. To be honest, when I first opened it, I was less than impressed; sour grassy notes dominated with hints of under ripe banana. Not what I was expecting from a malt with such a good reputation. Several months on and the sour notes have left and that honey and faint peat have appeared. It's a favourite now...

8 years ago 0

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