What's in a name? Highland Park 12 Year Old whisky is called whisky because it's produced in Scotland. Were it from America it would be spelled Highland Park 12 Year Old whiskey, rather than whisky.
The nose is fresh, clean and very aromatic. Floral notes abound the senses with a light grassiness. Notes of creamy manuka honey and a touch of juicy citrus with cream and a well-balanced sweetness. The palate is quite full with a pleasant subtlety to the depths. Lurking somewhere in the substratum a grilled orange lies. Notes of granary toast and green tea with jasmine. A touch of sweetness. The finish is quite long with peppered spicy and wood shavings
Just opened a bottle, great for a 12 year old, has to be favourite 12.
11th April 2014
In the last 4 years I must have drank about 10 bottles of this whiskey. This is one of my all time favorites and you will (most probably) not be disappointed either. I've been recommending this particular whiskey to all my friends since and they're all loving it.
However, the last bottle I bought somewhere in 2013 was not good at all. At first I thought it was me, but drinking a few more glasses during the week I became more and more convinced there was actually something wrong with the whiskey. After reading up on it in Jim Murray's Whiskey Bible of 2013 - giving it a shocking 70-score only - ánd tasting a bottle I gave to a friend a year earlier, it was 100% confirmed that something went wrong with the whiskey that year.
Because of this I have not bought one again since. Now a year has passed and I will try one again and hope it will be back to the quality it used to be. If it is, you simply cannot miss this one. Really.
10th April 2014
The nose hinted at oak, heather, and smokey fire. Upon entry, it had an astringent quality with a light sweetness... kind of like cough syrup. This ultimately faded into a smoke bomb though with a malty sweetness in the background. I didn't care for it as it was and a splash of water didn't help. However, and I know it may be sacrilege to some, a 50/50 mix with 18 yo Glenmorangie REALLY turned into a phenomenal dram! Honestly! It toned down the smokieness and embraced a lot of the finer heather grilled fruit notes.
28th March 2014
There's something about Highland Park 12 that I really enjoy. Smooth, smoky, classy tasting whisky for the price. Unlike the other reviewer below, I prefer this over The Macallan 12 and Glenmorangie. This is my favorite malt for the price.
25th March 2014
To know what to avoid next. I will not but more of this as for the price there is better offerings. Too much watered down makes this average whisky
22nd March 2014
Was interested to try this whiskey hearing it as the best all rounder, and I bought a miniature bottle incase it wasn't my cup of tea.
It was a very nice scotch, almost as if tasting scotch for the first time, very sweet and smokey with water added, but I was still expecting something more having heard about it's complexity.
Think i'll splash out on the 18 year old ins tread, but for what's it in. A perfect evening whiskey, but don't expect to be blown away.
13th March 2014
But watered down too much, makes no better than most average whiskys
12th March 2014
I bought a bottle yesterday, and tried it side by side with Macallan and Glenmorangie. I have to say that Highland Park is absolutely a no-no for me. I am glad that many people love it, but it is simply not my cup of tea. Glenmorangie is my top choice for a single malt whisky.
10th March 2014
very very very goooooood
3rd March 2014
the way its described is perfect but not for me but still very nice in its own way. my taste is the balvenie doublewood
2nd March 2014
This was way better than I expected. Gentle smoke and peat with some great pepper. There is underlying sweetness that comes later in the mouthful as you savor it. This is a smooth dram that I will keep in my cabinet as a regular.
20th February 2014
I'm a repeat buyer of HP 12. This whisky has definitely earned it's place among the standard rotating stock of my liquor cabinet. It is exceptionally balanced, embracing all the sweetness and fruitiness of a Speyside or Lowland malt with just the right amount of gentle peaty smokiness and island complexity needed to distinguish it from its competitors, and for the price this is quite a good deal indeed. In this case the smokiness and general character of this malt is definitely of a warming campfire/fireside variety rather than the love-it-or-leave-it iodine/medicinal peat of Islay. If you are seeking an excellent balanced scotch whisky at a modest price point, this one is very hard to beat.
14th February 2014
Rating within class and price range.
7th February 2014
Touches most every flavor profile of scotch regions in some way or another. I like it straight or with a 1/2 tsp of water in a skinny dram, but it will take more (if you like to moderate the slight alcohol bite and wood smoke) without wrecking it, actually bringing a sweet and floral character to the front; very versatile at 43%. If you've been interested in the Bunnahabhain Toiteach but shudder at the price, the Toiteach with a tiny splash is very similar to this HP12, excepting the slightly briny note of the Bunna.
HP labels are hard to see through the bottle but appears to be batch L0263R L4 22/07 10:46.
This is a great entry level whisky and fairly smooth for something made in as harsh surroundings as Orkney. It has a bit of body and a low smokey, spicy finish that lasts nicely.
Great value and of course it goes without saying there are better bottles about, but many will cost you more. If you like this, it will be a nice stepping stone to some of the more characteristic island whiskies.
17th January 2014
Usually sticking to the common blends, this malt was a gift, unfortuneately my pension does not run to be able to afford this 12 but I would highly recommend it.
First time trying HP 12 and was not disappointed in any way. If your reading these reviews don't bother listening to the negative comments. This scotch has a smooth taste to start and warm enjoyable aftertaste. Highly recommend.
12th January 2014
After reading the reviews, I thought I'd give this a try. Nothing worth shouting about. Average at best. Stick to Glenfarclas.
27th December 2013
I'm new to the world of scotch whisky, but having tried 9 fairly different ones from Ardbeg to Old Pulteney, Dalmore to Glenlivet, I'm trying to be as diverse as possible. This one is my favorite so far. As promised, this beautiful drink has a bit of everything: peat, sweet, fruitiness, and a lingering finish.
22nd December 2013
Nothing else to be said
20th December 2013
I have bought a lot of whisky from MoM, but this one I can get in my local liquor store (US resident). If you take your whisky thrill and divide it by your cost, I doubt you'll find many better buys. I have tasted many better whiskies, but they are invariably significantly more expensive. If this cost $200 (US), I probably give this an 8 or 9 overall, but at under $50, it's an absolute 10!
15th December 2013
I don't know much, but I know I'm glad I bought this.
24th November 2013
You know those conversations you sometimes have at the liquor store - those one offs where you and someone exchange some experiences and recommendations, and maybe you try something different? Well, the wife and I were shopping and had a pleasant one of those, and I was searching for my old favorite (Johnny Green) but was disappointed that it was out of stock - and then as she and I were discussing alternatives, an older gentleman suggested we give this bottle a try.
I was not disappointed. My first sip of this was harsh, but then, I'm the kind of nut who likes a Scotch that doesn't need ice - there are some of those out there. This isn't one of them however - and in fact, never have I tasted a Scotch before this one that changes it's stripes so completely with the simple addition of some ice. The taste of this is magnificent. It's very well rounded, and the honey and smoke are there - but the peat didn't stand up and scream - it was there, but subdued by the sweet overtones and rich flavors. The ice was everything to this, and once added, it ascended into heaven.
Definitely a pleasant bottle - and not a bad price either. Here in the US it's about $45, but well worth it.
23rd November 2013
After trying the HP 15, I decided to pick up a bottle of the 12. I was a bit surprised by how distinct the two were (I'm not much of a whiskey drinker....). The 12 is well described at the top of the page as sweet, honey-like with a hint of wood shavings, likely from years in a sherry cask. I think it would pair very well with dark chocolate cake or a nice cigar. I find it more subtle and shorter on the palate than the 15, which is more complex and lasting in flavour evolution. Overall, I prefer the 15 but the 12 definitely has its merits. I think I will now save the 15 for special occasions and have the 12 as a reliable standby.
16th November 2013
This is a great whisky. If I had to recomend one it would be this.Its for men not boys.
15th November 2013
There is something really enjoyable about this stuff. I'll agree with some of the negative reviews that the nose, at first, is a little off (like kerosene and low tide) but this bottle really grew on me. My personal description would be campfire on the beach. Warm and nautical. I think I found my go-to single malt. I've paid double or triple the price for bottles I've thought much less of. That being said, this is only my 5th single malt that I've tried so take my opinion for what it's worth.
13th November 2013
I am no great whisky expert but this one I really like excellent value for money
7th November 2013
I'm missing something with this. Recommended by many and tried many times by me. I don't think I'd buy a bottle of this again. Its a nice enough whiskey but much better around at the same price.... Jason Breen
1st November 2013
This is one amazing whisky. For those of you who rate it low, I dare you to find something better for under $50 U.S.
13th October 2013
I have never been a whisky drinker, but have been drawn more towards it recently. After sampling a couple of flights at a local pub, just to get a taste, I then went out and bought my first bottle - A Highland Park - and am now good and truly hooked. This bottle has lit a fire in my soul, and I can't believe I've been passing up on it for so long. I will defer on the rating, because I have so little baseline for comparison, but I will say that this stuff is simply delicious.
1st October 2013
This came highly recommended and I was disappointed. Unpleasant chemical after taste, not dissimilar to inhaling petrol. I'm more of a lighter whisky fan but I gave this away to a greatful friend. Not to my taste.
21st September 2013
I used to like this whisky, but the last bottle I bought... Couldn't agree more with Jim Murray. I weep for Highland Park distillery
8th August 2013
just got my new bottle today frist time from MoM GREAT SERVICE just about to crack in to my next 2 bottles :) this dram is better than the last time and long may it last.
15th July 2013
should be in every pub in ireland for gods sake and mine
12th July 2013
I hoped the folk at HP would check the batch and maybe concur to some degree so I could purchase another bottle with confidence & find out what everyone else seems to say, but as they didn't do this and gave me hardly any feedback other than thanking me for my letter and saying maybe I was more sensitive to it than most, I wont be risking it i'm afraid when there's so many other scotch's I know I like and yet to try. BTW soda? wash your mouth out lol
5th June 2013
Not sure what the reviewer above was expecting the folk at Highland Park to do with his feedback, but assuming they haven't tearfully flushed it all away, I highly recommend it. Very tasty, rich and smooth. Just keep it away from the soda.
31st May 2013
I recently bought a bottle of this (in Mar 2013) and to say im disappointed after reading all the good reviews is an understatement. its basically fit only for giving to guests who don't know what decent whisky is to use with mixers (which is what i'll be doing with it). I checked in the whisky bible after tasting it and wasn't at all surprised to find that the author says the same thing about the 2012 release. I contacted highland park with my thoughts and after an initial pretence of being interested in my feedback didn't do much else. I wont be risking any more of my cash on HP scotch
29th May 2013
An outstanding whisky that I keep buying over and over.
Has a little bit of everything, but not too much of anything.
8th April 2013
Finished off the bottle in the Kinlochbervie Hotel bar. I have been hooked since. An incredibly well rounded dram that i have great pleasure introducing to my friends. Salivating as i write this.
11th March 2013
Have tasted a few hundred dollar (State side here) options, but nothing extravagant and I am a Scotch novice overall. I did much research before buying my first full bottle. This Highland Park 12 year was my choice, and I have to say, for the money I couldn't imagine doing better. Balanced sweat and smokey flavored with the freshness of greens.. along with jus the right amount of bite. Love it.
10th March 2013
Sweet (but not cloying), floral, dry, a little peaty - this one really has everything in one package.
7th February 2013
just wonderful fav at the moment and for a long time to come
21st January 2013
I was searching around for a good 12-year under $40 or so and this one came up. Really like this and the smoky finish. Tried this next to a Glenlivet 12 and I don't think I'll ever buy the Glenlivet again
11th January 2013
At first I was a little concerned by the nose; it is quite heavy with the manuka honey, with that bitter beeswax and buttery toast that I am usually not a fan of. But give it a little while to develop - it doesn't take very long and you get fresh fruity subtleties like apple peels and citrus leaf, alongside cream and baked orange with the peel on. It becomes more speyside-y with time with more powerful notes from red berries and more creamy notes. The palate, which to some is the most important bit, is incredible, INCREDIBLE, nuts, oranges, slight peat, light spice, wild botanicals like heather and juniper, there is buttery toast, creamy brown sugar and slight juiciness. The balance is splendid, just splendid. on the finish there is a lovely coating of oranges, vanilla toffee, fudge, lovely light smokiness which I have no idea how they achieved. Man this is good. Highly recommended, ESPECIALLY AT £25?!?!?!??!!?!?
9th January 2013
I had heard great reports from a work colleague on HP 12 and decided to buy for Christmas as a treat.I am new to single malt whisky and can say this HP12 is a beautiful tasting dram and I was not disappointed.Since buying this I have been fortunate over the past week to try out a few more drams including Glenfiddich 15 yo Solera, Glenlivet 12 yo and a Laphroaig Quarter cask.They were all fine tasting in my palate, but HP12 is going to be a regular purchase as for me it was smoother and more enjoyable to drink than the others.Its a whisky that tastes far more luxurious the £25 I paid for it.Great value.
2nd January 2013
1st January 2013
I really enjoy the highland park 12yo it's perfectly balanced and you get everything you would expect. Sweet, little peaty working together with dry and sweet fruits and nut flavors and then medium dry what a lovely whisky I always go back to this lovely whisky can't get enough. So far I've tried the glenmorangie, aberlour, glenlivet, talisker and Laphroaig and they don't seem to satisfy my palate like the highland park. Great whisky keep up the good work!!!
Should be called the Orkney Islands but never the orkneys!
20th December 2012
Love the orkneys, I love the peat and honey combo best I have tried
16th December 2012
This is a nice rounded single malt but seems to lack the depth and complexity of other single malts. This is very noticeable when compared to a 10 year old Glengoyne which is far more complex and just as smooth. So much more depth than the HP12...Still good value though.
9th December 2012
This is a fine whisky. To me, it tasted somewhat like a Speyside with a mild peat under it. The peat flavor is not overpowering as in Lagvulin or Laphroig and lets the other flavors shine through. Karl
19th September 2012
If you just start your malt journey, or even if you are a old runner on the malt trail, there is no way you are not gonna like this.
An amazing whiskey. way better then Glenlivet 12, Glenffidich 12, Macallan 12...etc and it's not a matter of taste, it is way better "."
23rd August 2012
My palate cannot appreciate these hugely expensive whiskies and this to me is the perfect balance between taste and cost. It tastes a hell of a lot more expensive than it actually is - a perfect compromise.
2nd August 2012
.. did mention manuka honey. Makes me wonder why they missed a statement on "it's intrinsic quality".
4th July 2012
.. did not mention peat?
For my money, the Highland Park 12 is one of the best entry-level whiskies available. Mild smokiness, a touch of honey, a savoury finish - it's got a bit of everything. Great value for money.
2nd July 2012
This is one of the best entry-level whiskies, and represents among the best value for money as well. Great balance of subtle peat and honey sweetness, but lacks that little bit extra that the 18 year-old provides.
22nd June 2012
I was not too sure at first taste, or second, or third, to be honest. The main problem was the peat which is very Bunnahabhain like. But it is a grower and now I look forward to a dram. It's fragrant, then dry, then goes to sweet. Big taste, lovely.
21st June 2012
Met a guy just back from Scotland, after picking up one bottle he came back and picked up a second bottle of Highland Park in the same visit to our local store. I asked what was so special about this brand, he told me about his trip and his tasting, I've been hooked ever since, absolutely love it.
24th May 2012
Fragrant smoke with a soft kerosene, sweety lacquer and wood, moderate spirit and malt, which's leftovers prevail in modest aftertaste. Definitely better than Johnnie Walker Black, but maybe a little bit lower than Green Label. Worth trying, anyway.
3rd May 2012
1st April 2012
And they will if my plans for world domination come to fruition!
10th March 2012
While touring Scotland in 2005 we stopped in Edinburgh before heading for London. There I had my first Scotch tasting. I tried several from Laphroig through Highland Park to Glen Morangie and Jura. I kept coming back to Highland Park. I had no previous knowledge of single malts and I just liked this one so I bought a bottle (overpriced with the VAT). Only when I got back to the States did I discover that, apparently, I know a good thing when I find it. It's still my favorite after trying a few others.
25th February 2012
my favourite malt by far and i;v tried a few, delicious,! worth 5*
James Rodger Smart esq,
2nd November 2011
Expected a lot less, affordable and by far the most delicious for the price, hell any price, everything is so balanced. Sweet then dry. Just amazing!
23rd September 2010
Another one that could easily become a staple in someone's cabinet (if not mine). This is a very refreshing dram - one that could easily be enjoyed after sweating and working in the yard. If there was ever a Scotch suitable for summer afternoon enjoyment, this is it. Sweet notes on entry and on finish - the longer you let the finish linger, the sweeter it becomes. Nougat, Caramel, almost a candy bar in a bottle after a minute or so from the last sip. Wonderful Stuff!
20th May 2010
This is the relatively new expression and redesigned bottle from HP. It was remarked in several reviews that perhaps the original 12 yo was just beginning to tire - or maybe tastes change! This new offering is certainly more subtle, slightly less smokey and just a tad sweeter. It does not lose it's Island character and remains one of the great Single Malts. Unlike the whisky however the new packaging and bottle ARE an aquired taste!
16th December 2009