So, here we go, whisky review number one! It took us a long while to decide upon which whisky we wanted to ‘lose our virginity’ to. There are so many great candidates but in the end we went for what is possibly one of the best all-rounders. The Highland Park 12yo.
Highland Park is Scotlands most northernly distillery, on the isle of Orkney, and was founded way back in 1798 making it one of the oldest operational distilleries. Owned by Edrington this is probably one of the best known and most visible single malts within the industry, and after tasting it, its quite clear why. This is one of the few distilleries that still malt their own barley on sight, or a percentage of it, on a traditional malting floor. They also peat their barley during the kilning, using peat cut from Orkney, giving it a distinctive woody/heather-peat smoke aroma. So without further a due, lets get into it!
Wow, straight away we were met with that gorgeously aromatic and light Orcadian peat smoke. Its so delicate and more like a wood smoke than the heavier, richer peat that you get with Islay malts. There is a lovely sweetness to it aswell, heather honey, vanilla, toffee and a soft pepperyness.
On the palate there is a huge cereal whack, heaps of malted barley gradually fading into a spicy-sweet woodyness, and the peat that was fairly soft on the nose is much more prominent here. There is also a fruityness trying to battle for some attention, definitely raisins coming from the sherry butts, but also a twist of bitter lemon adding a lovely citric tang.
For a fairly young whisky, and at only 40% ABV, we were surprised at just how good the finish is. Medium in length, sweet, malty, honeyed and with a wisp of that fantastic smoke running through it, very satisfying dram.
All in all a fantastic whisky, there arent really too many draw backs at all, its such a great all-round dram. If you’re not a whisky drinker then it’s a good one to start with, similarly, if you are then it’s a tough one not to like. A slightly higher ABV would have been nice, and ofcourse, if it was Un-chillfiltered! But that said its an excellent whisky and for the price you pay for it, usually around £25-£30, it is great value for money!
Gary & Steven