Highland Park 12 Years Old

A stable of many peoples collection, the Highland Park 12 Years Old. This was also one of the first bottles I ever bought. A dram for anyone new or experienced in drinking whisky.

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The Distillery

As if done on purpose Highland Park is the other headline brand in the Edrington Group portfolio.

Sitting on the Isle of Orkney this distillery with a bit of a cult status was founded in 1798 by a local farmer. The modern distillery came in around the 1870’s. The house style of Highland Park to me is so popular because they create a very traditional whisky.

Peated malt was traditionally used in whisky production because in Scotland peat was a fuel in fires. If you wanted to start a fire you used peat and therefore when you wanted to dry out your barley you used peat to make the fire. The peat flavour was therefore a background by-product of the production methods.

Today, Highland Park have there own floor malting which make up 20% of their barley needs. Rather than producing a heavily peated expression and a non peated expression the 80/20 split is added to each mash batch to give that traditional subtle smokiness from centuries ago.

The distillery has a visitor centre which runs tours, tasting and sells bottles. There is a number of different tours for all price points. I would really recommend visiting your favourite distillery and going on the tours. They are great fun and you always get good bits of knowledge about the place. Some of Highland Parks tours are a little extreme but at the moment the tours are:

Heritage Tour – Standard kind of tour you would expect in most places includes 12yo sample – £7.50

Best Spirit Tour– As above but includes 3 standard samples – £20

Connoisseur Tour –  Standard tour plus 4 interesting samples – £35

Magnus Eunson Tour – Standard tour plus 7 samples, merchandise and the “opportunity” to bottle your own from a cask for an extra £90 (I mean honestly) – £75

Vintage Tour – VIP tour plus taste 3 expressions from 1970, 1971 and 1976 – £250

Working Tour – Hands on day working as an employee – £1000

So quite the menu of options at Highland Park. This is about the most extreme selection I have ever come across. I think some of the tours above are over priced or overly restrictive like the bottle your own only available on certain tours! For more information on Highland Park tours please look here.

 

The Dram

The 12 year old is bottled at 40% ABV and I don’t know what the situation is regarding colouring or filtering it. It is available here though for a very very reasonable £27.50. It will also be available regularly for £25 in supermarkets.

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Tasting Notes

Nose – earthy and leafy nose with a fruity zesty overcoat

Palate – really nice weight in the mouth. fruit cake sweet developing a subtle smoke but prolonged bitterness. Blood oranges as you hold it in the mouth. Letting it sit in the glass the sweet only increases

Finish – The finish lasts a long long time. The smoke is very subtle but it lingers on and on and on. Great stuff

Final Thoughts

This is really excellent whisky. Really a masterpiece in developing an award winning house style expression. There is the sherry sweetness start and the savoury smoke finish giving real contrast and interest .

I have not drank this in over a year and I really have a new appreciation for it now. The price of this is excellent and is really a tonic to the issues I raised in my last blog post. Edrington need to give us more of this value and less of the mental packaging that are only for collectors.

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