Moving on to the Islands in Scotland again and the stop this time is Orkney Islands, for a review of the Highland Park 12 year old. Highland Park is the most northerly whisky distillery in Scotland. The first proprietary bottling of Highland Park single malt Scotch whisky was as a 12 year old in 1979.
Region: Orkney Islands (Kirkwall), Scotland
Style: Single Malt
Age: 12 Years
Highland Park was established in 1798, presumably by Magnus Eunson (a church elder). The name of this whisky does not refer to the area of Scotland known as The Highlands, from which Orkney is excluded, but rather to the fact that the distillery was founded on an area called ‘High Park’.
Highland Park is one of the few distilleries to malt its own barley, using locally cut peat from Hobbister Moor. The peat is then mixed with heather before being used as fuel. The malt is peated to a level of 20 parts per million phenol and then mixed with unpeated malt produced on the Scottish mainland. Highland Park is also one of the ingredients of The Famous Grouse blend. The 12 year old is the youngest whiskey in the core expression from Highland Park.
Colour: Rich gold to amber with nice thick legs.
Nose: Has a lovely heathery smokiness that is intermingled with a honeyed sweetness. There are also pleasing citrus (mostly oranges) notes coming through as well as malt and more heather with a hint of spiciness. Beautiful clean and fresh nose.
Palate: Medium body with a palate that is remarkably smooth (yet firm) and rounded. Sweet smokiness and heather with more of that honeyed sweetness from the nose. Also get touches of oranges, a rocky earthiness, pepperiness and sweet canvas. Mouth feel that is dry and chalky, yet with a slippery and juicy feel on the tongue. A beautiful balance that is light and smooth and not as aggressive.
Finish: Clean and quite lingering while being serious and delightful with a sweet and delicate smoke that has some hints of spice (pepper).
Overall: A wonderfully smooth and balanced whisky that has a deep and complex flavour profile that delivers over and over. I particularly love the sweet and delicate smokiness on the finish. I think that it is an exceptionally pleasing whisky and one that could be enjoyed every day.
My Score: 86