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Highland Park 12 Year Old

Where's the Scotch!?

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@GhostWorksReview by @GhostWorks

5th Dec 2009


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

2009 December

Two months ago, I bought a Highland Park 12.

I'd never had the pleasure, but I've noticed it's on many 'favorites' lists. I'm a member of a few messageboards (including one dedicated to Scotch ;) ), and there seemed to be a consensus that the Highland Park 12 was a fantastic 'daily drinker' among the single malt-minded members - across the boards.

I've got a palate that favors distinction - I like the differences that make the drink such a singular event with each maker (and sometimes each bottle). Current favorites are: Glenfarclas 17 Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban Talisker 1992 Distiller's Edition Macallan 18 Macallan Fine Oak 10 Glenfiddich Ancient Reserve 18

  • if you've enjoyed any of those, you'll know I like a wide variety in my drams.

That said, there are nights when I don't need a complex event to fill my glass - a 'simple', refreshing taste is what's wanted (the Glenfarclas 12 and the Macallan Fine Oak 10 have been standing in nicely, here). So, it was with that in mind I approached The HP12 (with many personal recommendations) with appropriate expectation.

What a disappointment, then, to find the HP12 a thoroughly dissatisfying single malt.

There's no uniqueness here. It's all nose. The scent from the bottle, and subsequently from the glass (+ one small cube to open it up) is encouraging. There's vanilla and a little smoke. But that's it. You're done in by the time it hits your tongue.

There's no 'ride' whatsoever, it's just down the hatch. Nothing lingers. It's almost as if the taste disappears. There's certainly no hint of the sherry casks they use (which I tend to favor) - this may be due to HP's predilection for 'harmonizing' their Scotch (by continually emptying/filling various other barrels with the Scotch until they consider it's 'done').

Regardless, this is a featureless, bland and forgettable dram that serves no purpose for me.

Understand, it's not 'bad' - there's just nothing there.

So, if anyone needs a bottle (minus a few ounces) just let me know...

Related Highland Park reviews


jdcook commented

In my experience, adding ice tends to completely flatten the taste of a whisky - and there are very few whiskies that need that. Try it neat, or with a small dash of (less than a dozen drops) of room-temp water and see if that makes any difference.

14 years ago 0

GhostWorks commented

UPDATE: Based on a few recommendations (including jdcook's) I've tried the Highland Park minus the ice/water. I must admit it's one of the few malts that works best neat.

That said, it still leaves a lot on the plate (and not enough on my palate), but it certainly does not deserve the 3 star rating I gave it.


13 years ago 0

olivier commented

After this review, I'll have to re-taste the HP 12 yo. I do not have a bottle, though I have and love the 18 and 21 yo. The 12 yo is what they serve on KLM intercontinental flights, and I have always enjoyed it. Maybe it was just shining in comparison to the airline food ;-)

13 years ago 0

jdcook commented

I'm glad we were able to salvage something from your purchase at least.

13 years ago 0

OCeallaigh commented

Is that a joke??? What whisky could ever be improved with ice. NONE! That's insane. You're just trying to take back your terrible first judgement of an excellent dram. Melt your ice and dump it in the front yard. Drink your whisky like a man.

12 years ago 0

sevac commented

"So, if anyone needs a bottle (minus a few ounces) just let me know..." - I am your man!!! I am just sipping it and it is absolutelley dellicious.

Regarding ICE in the whisky, please do check this out:


12 years ago 0

GhostWorks commented

...alas, it's been a while since I've checked in.

The 'ice' vs. 'no ice' debate is foolish.

I'll always favor what George S. Grant (Glenfarclas) said at the very first Scotch tasting I ever attended:

(paraphrasing) "Whether it's neat or with ice, soda water, cola... if you bought the bottle, drink it how you like."


11 years ago 0

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