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I'm a total whisky beginner and this is my first review, so it's gonna be crap. If you wanna learn something intelligent about Highland Park 12 read the next random review.
I recently opened my first HP12 and after everything I had heard/read I was disappointed. I got this bottle for the sole reason that it's supposed to be great for beginners.
The nose brought back memories from a chemistry lab, and puking vodka when i was 15. that kind of put me off. I read somewhere you sometimes need to let a dram open up and develop in the glass before it's ready, so I left it for about 5-10 min and came back for another go at it. I managed to work my nose past that first impression and found a lot of goodness. Syrup, Heavy oak and something I like to refer to as "choco-tobacco" (my favourite flavour to find in a whisky).
No water added. The palate initially delivered what I expected from the nosing, it was pleasing. After swallowing there was a peak of vanilla that was too strong for my liking. I'm not a fan of vanilla in general, noticing it in whisky can be nice if it's subtle, but for a brief moment it was the only flavour I could sense, yuck. Then that choco-tobacco came out nice and clear and put a brief smile on my face, yum. The finish was bitter woody and long. All in all it wasn't bad, I rather drink HP 12 than don't drink at all. Or maybe it was bad...
Despite the roller coaster of nice/less nice, it was surprisingly easy drinking. Is that why it's recommended for inexperienced drinkers? I'll definitely finish the bottle, I do not regret getting it, but will surely not get another bottle.