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Highland Park 15 Year Old

An oil painter's scotch

1 888

RReview by @Rigmorole

21st Feb 2014


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

I think this whisky is underrated. Yes, it's true that the nose isn't spectacular but it isn't as thin as many reviewers say in the mouth.

I drank a glass from a new bottle, so it took about 25 minutes to open up. Very nice once it did.

Nose: Linseed oil, pine, salted caramel, vanilla, a bit of alcohol mustiness.

Palate: buttered toast, malt, smoke, salt, Meier lemon, butter brickle, popcorn, flax, vanilla cake icing.

Finish: Medium. vanilla extract, clover honey, toasted barley, and a touch of oak. Does not end as dry as I had expected from reading reviews. Neither does it end bitter. A nice, sweet finish, but not a "sherry" finish. I must say, that sherry is overdone these days in a lot of whiskies. It's not everything it's cracked up to be. Drinkers in the 1970's understood that.

In my estimation, at 40% this scotch does not require any water added to it, especially if one has the patience to wait 20 minutes before getting into it in the glass.

I suspect the sherry fad will fade a little with time when people rediscover the joys of a whisky that doesn't need to do backflips on your tongue in terms of complexity to qualify as a truly delightful taste experience. Sometimes simpler is indeed better, depending upon one's mood. And for this, HP 15 should be waiting in the cabinet--a willing accomplice. Yes, I know there may be some sherry casks involved in making the 15, but they really don't stand out. In fact, I would be interested to learn if bourbon American casks were used, or European oak (sherry) casks. That would be interesting to know. I suspect European, but the sherry is really dialed down nicely.

The mouth feel after thirty minutes was really quite nice. I would rank the satisfaction index even higher than the rating. It's true that this HP isn't as complex as the 18, but it is quite delicious.

I also don't care what other reviewers say: the 15 is certainly a more interesting whisky than the 12. Call me a purist, but I like the fact that the 15 does not have fake coloring in it. But what's more, it is more exotic and interesting as a whisky than the 12, which has a stale mundane quality in comparison with the crisp, refreshing almost turpentine tang of the 15, mixed with a really satisfying sweet finish. Drinking it reminded me of my days painting with oils in college. I really miss painting and drinking this whisky gives me some of that nostalgia of the sharp tangy smell of oil on the canvas with linseed oil (turpentine) nearby to clean brushes and things.

Related Highland Park reviews


Taco commented

Apparently the 15 is aged in American oak while 12 and 18 in Spanish oak. All are sherry casks, just different wood (and a very different taste!). I prefer the 18, but would always pick the 15 over the 12. The 15 is quite good, but in a blind test, I would be hard pressed to say it was an HP product. A good summer dram.

9 years ago 0

vanPelt commented

Interesting. In their reviews, @galg agrees not enough sherry, but @Victor calls it a sherry trip. What's going on?

I'd like to try it, but where do you even find it?

9 years ago 0

FMichael commented

The 15 yr is my favorite.

9 years ago 0

Rigmorole commented

Yes, I can see why. Really good and noticeably different from the 12 and 18. People say the 12 and 18 are similar, but I don't really think so. The 18 is so much better than the 12. At any rate, no, the 15 is not a "sherry trip" IMO, with all due respect to Victor, who is a very good reviewer. It has a very strong vanilla signature, which can come from sherry casks I guess, but sherry? No, very little to my senses.

9 years ago 0

Taco commented

For some reason, the HP 15 reminds me of Bruichladdich Laddie 10. Must be the American oak. Both very fresh flavored and moderately light.

9 years ago 0

vrudy6 commented

I just got me a bottle yesterday and I gotta tell you, this is exactly what I look for in a single malt. And the ever, unique flowery mustiness of that Orkadian peat, mm,mm,mm! yummy!! I will post my review in the coming days.

9 years ago 0

SimeonSanchez commented

"Do backflips on your tongue," ha ha. The comparison to turpentine is a little off-putting to me. I do like the smell of oil pastels, though. Anyway, Connosr reviewers are making this sound like one interesting dram.

9 years ago 0

MadSingleMalt commented

Jason Craig from HP has publicly claimed that no HP whiskies contain any fake coloring.

Now if you say that you'd rather see that on the label than on some online interview or whatever, I'd agree with you. But there we are.

6 years ago 0

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