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For those familiar with the malty and well valued HP12, Highland Park 18 is very similar in flavor but with a higher degree of sophistication. This dram is a great example of what some additional years of "sleep" will produce from what is already a well defined brand.
Try a side-by-side comparative tasting between HP12 and HP18. It's a great way to experience the differences of what a few more years can do to an already good whisky.
Taste tested and reviewed hand warmed in a 12 oz. snifter, neat over the course of at least 30 mins. Weather: chill in the air, rainy.
Nose: Initially cool from the bottle, the dram really opens up with warming as red licorice turns to smooth anise, soft vanilla, seasoned oak fueling a smoldering story telling campfire.
Palate: Subtle honey vanilla crème brûlée inside a velvety oil slick accompanied by light oaky burn which slowly fades as the peat takes over but evenhandedly with mingled flavors.
Finish: The flavors follow thru into the long well balanced end, tightly complimenting are the malty, oaky, smokey statements.
Balance: This is a wonderfully enjoyable expression and I now understand why HP markets the 5cl bottle "gift" of HP18 with the 75cl bottle of HP12. They are offering a higher "education"
Those of us who like HP12 will surely "graduate" to the higher class that HP18 offers and delivers. This is one of those special bottles to have on hand and break out for special times.