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Highland Park 18 Year Old

My quest ends on this one

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@MisterDiggerReview by @MisterDigger

31st Jul 2013


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Since I could not find a bottle of HP18 to sample at any bar, I finally plunked down $96 US for this bottle with high hopes that it would be my new favorite. By itself, it is a very good whisky. However when comparing side by side (as I like to do) with it's younger 12 year old brother, I was disappointed. I even read the review on bad batches and even pulled two bottles of the HP18 out of their gift boxes to check for the color being too dark. When I got home, the color of the HP18 was actually a shade lighter than the HP12, so I obviously did not get a bottle from a bad batch.

As usual, the HP12 is a sythesis of perfectly sweet caramal, light smoke, and brine from the sea. When sipping this HP18, most of those flavors were obliterated by harshness. I actually had to souble check that the HP18 was not a higher alcohol content, but both are the same at 43% ABV. I also had the same situation with the Aberlours, whereby the harshness of the Aberlour 16 outweighed the flavors of the Aberlour 12.

The only explanation that I have for this phenomenom is the use of oak casks and the well known terminology of avoiding the situation of spending "too long in the wood". Actually, I should be thankful for finding this out in my own tatses, because 12 year olds are cheaper tahn 16 year olds. But as I said before, this is a very good whisky by itself. Just try the side by side test and you too may be surprised.

I don't regret this purchase and it will not go to waste, but this one hereby ends my one month quest to find affordable and readily available single malts. Has this quest turned me into a scotch snob? Only when I attend Saints' games in the Superdome, I can proudly thumb my nose at their high priced blended crap and say, "You don't have my brand, so I will just get a bottle of water". Another way to save money!

Thank you so much, everyone!!!

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Rigmorole commented

I'm puzzled why you gave your bottle of 18 Year an 89 if you feel this way. At any rate, here are some suggestions. I feel your pain. You went all out, Digger.

Your own private blend of one part Caol Ila 12 and three or four parts Highland Park 12 (depending on how smoky you want it). Mix the two and then let them comingle in a sealed bottle for a week or so before trying it. You won't be disappointed. Glenfarclas 21; you can do it. For all you've spent it's not that much more and it is a supremely satisfying scotch that will not disappoint. Don't think about the $$ signs after you buy it; think in terms of olefactory satisfaction. Auchentoshan Three Wood Longmorn 15 (NOT the 16) Springbank Claret Wood 12 Glengoyne 17 (it's only $65 in my state) Best of luck. Hang in there! Order out of state from either Binny's or K&L. One of them is bound to be legal in your state. p.s. Are you a retired undertaker or a funeral director? Thanks for your candor and up-front honesty. I appreciate it.

10 years ago 0

wtrstrnghlt commented

Just leave this bottle alone for a few months. No that you opened it the oxygen will do miracles to this Whisky. We I had my first dram of my bottle op HP18 I was also a little bit disappointed. Not a bad Whisky at all, but I just expected more from it.

Thanks to other members I learned that this Whisky improves a lot in time. I gave it a chance and I really like it much better now. In fact, I'm half way now and will we sorry to see this one go.

Thanks Connosr!

10 years ago 0

MisterDigger commented

Thanks to both of you. And thanks to my doctor's advice, my single malt and bourbon cabinet will have plenty of time to oxidize and open up, which is another reason that I won't be buying any more for quite a while. Sure, I could take a sip now and then and spit it out like the wine tasters do, but what is the point?

Now for the next question. How long can a bottle sit there and oxidize without going bad? Kentucky Spirit Bourbon is the only one that I know of that turns to crap after only one month, and this was verified by a whisky expert.

10 years ago 0

Rigmorole commented

You have about a year before you need to worry about your scotch going bad if the bottle is less than half empty. If it's mainly full, you're fine. It will take even longer to spoil. Smoky peaty scotches with phenols spoil faster, generally speaking.

Your doctor is an expert, but I tend to think that about 1.5 ounces of scotch per day is healthier than none at all. The problem comes from drinking too much at one time. A shot of scotch a day is relaxing and forms a soothing ritual that can have a positive effect upon one's health.

Granted, you seem to have been going pretty hard at it lately. Take a breather, yes, and then think about moderate enjoyment of what you have. A shot every day or two does add up over time in terms of using up your whisky cabinet before the whisky goes bad.

10 years ago 0

MisterDigger commented

Rigmorole: Thank you so much for the tips on how long my investment will last. At the rate of one ounce per day sipped every single day, I have enough to last a whole year without buying anything else. Suddenly, what I have spent in the last month on all of this does not seem so bad, when I will have to make it last. One thing I can say from being a hard drinking Harley man is that single malts have the absolute lowest penalty the next day, whereas blends do not because of the crap that is added to reduce costs and increase profits.

On another note, since phenol is a fuel and antiseptic, one would think that this would act as a preservative and make the scotch spoil LESS quickly. Why is it the other way around? On still another note, many bourbon collectors use nitrogen to take the place of the air in the bottle, thus removing the 20% oxygen in the air that we breathe. I imagine that doing this would make the whisky last almost forever. And God forbid, place the scotch into air tight containers, but the plastics in those flexible bags would absolutely ruin it.

10 years ago 0

Rigmorole commented

Wine preservers will increase life, but not indefinitely as if the bottle was unopened. Also, if you use the gas, don't use too much. That can affect the flavor of the whisky. If you have a bottle that is one third or less, and you don't plan to drink from it any time soon, a little preserver is a good thing. However, I prefer to put bottles down to about one quarter in a smaller bottle instead so that the level is fairly high in the smaller bottle. Even though it's not supposed to, I find the preserver does affect the flavor just a little. Not bad for a scotch under $70 but for your HP 18 I wouldn't advise it. Just me. Some folks swear the preserver won't affect flavor. When you do open the bottle again, don't drink from your glass for about a 30 minutes or more. The gas should dissipate in that amount of time. It's my impression that it sinks down into the bottle right along the whisky line but does not fill the entire bottle. In this way, it forms a "seal" between the whisky level and the whisky below with any air left in the bottle.

10 years ago 0

Taco commented

I much prefer the 18, and even the 15, to the 12. Let it sit a month or two and try again, as it greatly improves with air. I just finished the last of a bottle of 18 tonight, followed by two drams of Bruichladdich Laddie 10 (yum!). Luckily I have an unopened 18 in the cabinet. The 12 doesn't get much if any better with time. Instead of the 12, I keep Springbank 10 around as I think it is somewhat similar but more complex and better.

For a sherried whisky. I'd recommend Glenfarclas 105. It's cask strength and cheaper than the 17.

If your doctor is on your case, just do what I do. Add enough water to get the ABV down to 30-35% and call it a "digestif" which will mean it is a "medicine" to take prior to a meal.

10 years ago 0

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