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Highland Park 18 Year Old 5cl

Average score from 3 reviews and 18 ratings 89

Highland Park 18 Year Old 5cl

Product details

  • Brand: Highland Park
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 43.0%
  • Age: 18 year old

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Highland Park 18 Year Old 5cl

This whisky is a bit deceptive. It’s not a simple dram, although I remember thinking it was when I first had it ages ago. When I first tried it, I was only just getting into whisky. I remember thinking that there wasn’t a whole lot to it. Regardless, I grabbed it again recently when I came across a sample bottle at my local booze peddler. It was cheap and I had a hankering for something lightly peated. Even upon trying it again, my initial reaction was “That’s it?” Well, no. That’s not it. This whisky actually has a lot going on beneath the surface.

Nose: Very malty. Lovely caramelized fruits. Apples, peaches, banana, citrus and pears. Behind that, some gentle vanilla. Sherry notes; baking spices and dark fruits. Chocolate, nuts, and raisins. There are hints of salt and peat here, but they take a backseat to the sweet, dark fruity character.

Palate: The arrival is creamy, and initially slightly dry and salty. The gentle peat note presents itself very gradually. With it comes a deep, rich caramel, followed by big, juicy raisins, cinnamon, banana-nut, milk chocolate, and faint ginger. The dark, roasted caramel sweetness is fantastic, and it cooperates beautifully with all of the above flavours.

Finish: Cinnamon and anise. Demerera sugar? More rich, lovely caramel, which is beautifully interwoven with the gentle smoke. Banana-nut, chocolate, juicy raisins, toffee and allspice. A bit of oak comes through as well. A thoroughly enjoyable medium-length finish.

The HP18 can be challanging. There are subtleties to this dram which make it seem simpler than it is. The flavours aren’t all crisp and easy to identify, and it takes some effort to distinguish them. Why? Because they don’t stand alone, but rather their individual characters merge (quite effortlessly) with that lavishly rich, dark, sweeping caramel presence which characterizes this whisky. Because of that synthesis, it’s a fun, albeit challenging, whisky to explore and deconstruct. But if you’re not interested in picking this stuff apart, you don’t have to. The natural quality of that dark, fruity, smoky caramel makes HP18 something that one can also enjoy casually.

I failed to mention in my prior comment, that when I gave my 50 ml reviewed bottle a 90 score, that I was probably being 2-3 points generous, based on prior samples of Highland Park 18 which I had enjoyed much more. A score of 87 would actually have well-approximated what I thought about my 50 ml bottle, absent prior experience with that same whisky.

A well opened bottle of Highland Park 18 gains dimension, becoming lush and full, which includes more ability to taste ALL of the flavours: more tastable sherry, more noticeable peat and smoke, and richer barley, with noticeably increased honey-sweetness. The difference is as though a cardboard cut-out has come to life and become three-dimensional. Since I originally posted some time ago on Connosr about waiting 4 months for the whisky to bloom, there have been at least 3 other members who have commented on having had that same experience of radical improvement of the whisky after they waited several months for it to open up.

What I especially like about Highland Park as a distillery (and Bruichladdich as well), is the QUALITY of their BARLEY. When their whiskies are in their best flavour zones their barley is extremely delicious, and, to me, far superior in taste to the barley used by most other distilleries for malt whisky. You often don't really get to taste that wonderful barley-malt flavour, though, with a newly opened bottle of Highland Park malt.

I agree that this improves noticeably with air, and moves from 90 to 93 after many months sitting. Buy a bottle, try a couple of drams and make notes, wait a few weeks and do the same. Then put it away for at least 3 months and then only occasionally pour a dram. You will want to make it last as it is a special experience.

I also agree on the barley quality of both HP and Bruichladdich. I remember the first time I tried Laddie 10, I was blown away with the absolute quality of the product. I have really liked their various versions, but the 10 is not as influenced by finishes or aging, allowing one to see how wonderful the base spirit really is. The same can be seen with HP by trying the 12, 15, and 18. One tastes the underlying spirit that is characteristic of HP and why it is so loved.


NOTE: this was tasted from an old 18yo dumpy botle!

Let me taste some Highland Park whisky with a small H2H with two 18 Year Old. First this one from a dumpy bottle from an era long gone, next to a modern 18 Year Old from 2007.

The nose is very expressive and aromatic, much more so than the recent bottling. I think the amount of sherry casks in these older batches is much higher than in current batches. Loads of fruit in the shape of melon, pomegranate, apricots and banana. Mildly floral. Caramel and honey. Wonderfully sweet! Hints of toasted oak. Great.

The attack is less powerful than hoped, but creamy. Fruity like on the nose (oranges and figs now), upholstered with coffee and nuts. Almonds. Some flowers. Toffee & honey. A bit salty. Pretty complex.

The finish is pretty long, silky soft and sweet. Evolves a bit towards rum, imagine that!

This is much better than the new batches, which are already good, so that is saying something. Cracker dram! Thanks, Foamy.


It is a wonderful thing when unexpected acts of kindness manifest in one's life. Recently as I was leaving the liquor store the salesman ran after me. I thought that I had left my credit card at the checkout, but he said, "Take this!" and handed me a complimentary 5 cl bottle of Highland Park 18 yo. I felt like I had won the lottery. I already like and keep a bottle of the Highland Park 12 yo and I have wanted to try the Highland Park 18 yo for some time now. I will be scoring this review and future reviews of most malts on the advanced scoring system, but will use the simple scoring system for bourbon and rye whiskeys

Nose: fragrant sherry, floral, almost like roses,a little sweet, caramel

Taste: sweet sherry, but not too much, pleasant barley-malt flavour, just a hint of salt

Finish: flavours hold up and remain consistent for a fairly long finish

Balance: this package works nicely together. It is flavourful, but still quite mellow. The sherry adds to the mix, but does not overpower

I didn't see any mention of smoke, which is one of the core characteristics I get out of HP 18yr. In fact, it was the smoke that made it stand out from HP 25yr. I think I referred to HP 18yr in my review as: "Sweet Smoke", or something like that.

You are right that there is a good deal of smoke noticeable which I did not single out to mention. 'Sweet Smoke' is actually a rather good title for this whisky. I suppose that I assumed some degree of peating, and would have commented if I had found none. Haven't yet tried the HP25yr for comparison.

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