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Highland Park 12 Year Old

Time is on my side

0 687

@NAV26Review by @NAV26

18th Nov 2012

0

  • Nose
    21
  • Taste
    22
  • Finish
    21
  • Balance
    23
  • Overall
    87

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

I bought this 1 liter bottle of HP12 at the local supermarket. I have had the bottle for about 6 months and have completed 60%. Upon tasting this afternoon I found it more enjoyable than previous experience and thought I would write a review.

With time I think the nose and taste have become more subtle and complex. My appreciation for this whisky comes from its ability to seamlessly combine almost all the major category types of whisky on its own unique terms. Regions, distillers or models of whisky may express themselves as combinations, representation or counterbalances of floral, medicinal plants, fruit, vanilla, spices, sweet, smoke, peat or brine. The HP 12 has hints of all of these, they can be picked out an analyzed individually on days like today; or they can be appreciated as the sum of the whole when one is less mindful.

Color is amber-brown. I poured this tasting into a tumbler (no Glencairn available here) and let it air out for about 20 minutes. Initial the nose presented as one dimensiol and acetone, this has subsided and become much more complex. The dry season has started and the fan blows tempting hints of dried aromatic herbs (lavender, sweet basil; heather); vanilla; sherry sweetness; very ripe solo papaya; cocoa beans that have been fermented, dried and are now being grilled; freshly opened bag of black licorice; slight hint of gummy candy; honey; aromatic smoke; a very light hint of band aid like peat; and, a pungent pickled salty brine at the end. Time to enjoy.

Taste Thick, syrupy, fizzy, oily, mouth feel that rolls luxuriously around the palate. I really like the smooth mouth, there is no bite or burn just a little bit of spicy tingle. The flavors from the nose can all be found on the palate. On the front of the palette I get sherry sweetness with some ground white pepper spice. Mid palette I taste salted grilled cocoa beans; white honey from eucalyptus; and some anise. At the back of the palette I get more of the salt brine and bitter herbaceous (non woody) aromatic smoke.

Finish Luxurious oily mouth feel and rich sherry/ honey goodness stay on the midpalate for several minutes fading into very light band aid peat, smoke and heavier salt brine.

Balance Very lovely and simple but complex whisky as I mentioned above the balance of all the flavors is probably the greatest quality of this whisky. The nose and palate are in alignment. The sherry sweet cocoa influence flow seamlessly into the salt, brine flavors and aromatic smoke flavors with only a hint of peat.

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6 comments

@NilsG
NilsG commented

Good review, I will try to come back an read this again in a few moths when my HP12 has oxidized more. I was straight disappointed when I first opened the bottle and had my first taste. A moth later it had already improved to the level I know I will at least enjoy finishing it. The more I read about this whisky it becomes clear that this is a good example of an expression that becomes signifficantly better with oxidation. Makes me wonder if this is not something that could be done before bottling. I like the bottle I have now, but I will most likely not buy a second one, because I don't have that much patience that I wanna wait a few months for my dram to open up.

7 years ago 0

@NAV26
NAV26 commented

Thanks @NilsG. I didn't enjoy this whisky very much initially and probably would have given HP12 a low 70 over the first 3-4 months. It has opened up really nicely and was excellent yesterday. I think once it opens up it does require a bit of focus to pick out the subtle flavors as it is easy to just enjoy it's nice mouthfeel and smooth taste. I think the patience required to experience the development and the subtle flavors maybe why this is "a great beginners whisky." It provides an excellent lesson that whisky is evolving, hidden, mysterious and may not provide a perfect and immediate gratification. The verdict is still out on whether I will buy another bottle, given the very limited choices in my current market place it may prove inevitable. If it remains as good as it was yesterday, perhaps I will pour half of the new bottle into the old bottle to encourage oxidation? I am pleased that regardless of my purchasing choices, I have learned something very valuable about whisky from this bottle.

7 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@NAV26, your bottle will probably continue to improve over the next month or two. I would finish it off within a couple months after that, or put in inert gases to prevent further oxidation. I did a review of HP12 on Connosr, specifically focusing on the time changes.

7 years ago 0

@NilsG
NilsG commented

The problem for me is my very limited bottle space. The HP12, which is currently my least fav, is effectively blocking another bottle on the buy list. I call it dead stock. Is it worth waiting a few more months when it's already enjoyable I wonder?

7 years ago 0

@NAV26
NAV26 commented

@NilsG I think it is definately worth waiting, as Victor predicted it just seems to be getting better. I tried abit again tonight with a friend and it was excellent. I also think you would be missing a very valuable lesson. I have always heard space is an issue in Japan, the shape of the HP 12 bottle is not very conducive to tight spacing.

7 years ago 0

@NilsG
NilsG commented

You're right. I'll target a diffent bottle to empty for space.

7 years ago 0

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