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Highland Park 12 Year Old - Viking Honour

(70cl, 40%)

Highland Park 12 Year Old - Viking Honour

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Highland Park 12yo Bottling Note

Highland Park's spectacular 12 Year Old expression had a full-on Viking make-over in 2017, dubbed Viking Soul (the 18 Year Old is also getting a redesign, too). Stylish new livery and matching sub-name (Viking Honour) aside, the Orcadian single malt remains the same - delicious as ever!

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: 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.

Palate: Rather full with a pleasant depth. Lurking somewhere in the substratum a grilled orange lies. Notes of granary toast and green tea with jasmine. A touch of sweetness.

Finish: Quite long with peppery spice and wood shavings.

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Highland Park 12 Year Old - Viking Honour Reviews

Not as it once was

My 'problem' is that I remember the old HP12 - the heather honey, subtle smoke and sherry. It was my father's favourite and one of mine - one I always had in my store. This more recent version, though, just does not do it for me. Take off the HP12 label, put it in another bottle and it's drinkable enough but pretty unmemorable. I don't know what the distillers up there in Orkney are thinking about. perhaps they're too busy churning out the plethora of NAS versions with ridiculous names in fancy packaging to concentrate on reviving their previously excellent core 12 year old. I will not be buying again, even at the reduces price - my taste-buds deserve better.

6th December 2018

Great session drink

I haven't tried the 'original'. It's worth mentioning that Horst Luening from whisky.com says this and the old version are exactly the same, apart from the name and bottling. He also rates it very highly. If it's good enough for Horst it's good enough for me!

Anyway, this is an absolutely delicious whisky. The only problem is that it is far too easy to drink. The taste is interesting but very accessible. It's the very definition of a good session whisky. I wish I had the 43% version, where I am it is bottled at 40. If it were a little thicker bodied and had a bit more kick it would be perfect. As it stands, it's still a very good whisky.

4th December 2018

Where's the peat?

Couldn't believe all those reviews, I had to buy it and taste it myself. Old one was much better, all flavors are pulled down compared to the old one. And where is peat smoke? Won't buy this one anymore, sorry Highland Park

24th November 2018

Buy the old 12y/o if you find it

H.P. 12 from 2015 (before the viking malarky spread through H.P.'s marketing strategy) - I picked up today, November 2018, from my local co-op for £28. Nothing like the current Viking Dishonour being pedalled under the guise of whisky.

Why 'Viking' in anyway? they cleared off a good 800 years before the H>P distillery was founded.

The old style H.P. in my glass has REAL oak on the nose, is softer yet also has more character, the peat-smoke seems more integrated. Quite frankly, its bloody good for the price. If you see a bottle - get it.

24th November 2018

Really poor, the worst single malt I've ever tasted.

I can honestly say that this is the worst single malt I've ever tasted, absolute pish. HP should be ashamed. It's watery, no debth, not finish at all, it tastes like orange peel, that's it.

23rd November 2018

Simple enjoyment

Being the philistine I am, I quite enjoy HP 12 Viking Honor. After reading the furor over the change in 2017, I bought an old bottle to do a side by side taste test, and... Well... I prefer the new stuff. More honey, less oddly oaky, and something that keeps drawing me back. Perhaps I have simple tastes. But I simply enjoy this dram.

10th November 2018

I feel sorry that I paid for it.

One of the worst malts I've had over the last years.
This was a huge let down. If you liked the old HP12 you will hate this one. I think it's the worst possible option for the money and you're better off buying a glenmoranjie or even a simple glen grant 10.
The nose is nice, palate is average and lacks complexity and the aftertaste... well... I decided to have a snickers bar afterwards to get rid of it. It's like dog-pissed wood that is burnt together with old car tyres...

1st November 2018

Smooth

First time in a while for HP for me but what I remember about it was ‘smooth’ and that still applies. Came on offer too so an added advantage.

30th October 2018

Decent 12 yr old for the money

A few of my customers recommended this one, and I was surprised to see so many bad reviews after my first dram. For a $50 12 yr. chill filtered single malt this is good and very drinkable. A bit sweet and a bit spicy, not a whole lot of finish but complex enough for what it is. Goes down easy.

27th October 2018

Still the same

Many reviews here say the new 12 year old is not a patch on the old 12year old. My taste buds must be shot because in a blind tasting comparison I couldn't tell the difference between the two. Shop around and you will get it for £25 which is excellent value for what it is. I do agree they are overselling the Viking "link" and the bottle is very pretty but I don't buy a whisky for its packaging.

14th October 2018

Erm.....drinkable if you’ve nothing else.

Never tried the original HP but been drinking various whiskies over the last few months and Highland Park Viking Honour left me.....wanting. Got a nice peppery/honey and wood nose but that’s the best part. Taste is mediocre and the finish....well, I don’t think their is one! Kinda just disappears. No honey aftertaste or cream, just nothing. I like complex drama that change at various stages of tasting but this is as shallow as a puddle.

24th September 2018

Maurauding Pirates "Honour".

I had never tried any Highland Park before I bought this version yesterday. My foray into single malts started with a gift of Laphroig 10 from my son a few years ago, and I acquired the taste after a few shots. However this year I have taken to exploring other brands, and I really love Talisker Skye. Reading great reviews about Highland Park 12 recently aroused my interest, so when I learnt that Sainsbury's were offering it for just 25 pounds, I went and got one not realising that it was this Viking stuff.
In short I found it bland and a let down. Come to think of it though, the Vikings were a bunch of pirates and plunderers, so what is Viking honour really worth? Not a lot.

18th September 2018

Bring back the original.

I used to love the old Highland Park 12 Year Old, it was amongst my all time favourite whiskies. However this expression is just nowhere nearly as good. Come on H.P. get it sorted before you ruin the once great reputation you once had.

10th September 2018

Best with a coke...

The taste of cheapness. To put it simply this whiskey applies an approach of incremental economies in order to produce a harsh moonshine-esque malt. Fast distillation to push the spirit out quicker, then placed into planter quality barrels, with a hope and a prayer that any flavour would be imbued.

Utter dissatisfaction in a glass.

28th August 2018

In a word - Horrible!

This is NOT 12 y.o. Highland Park, not even a literally paler imitation.
The nose is pleasant enough, if a little simplistic, but I recommend you stop there before the firewater taste hits your throat.
Rough, fiery and shallow. No complexity of taste at all.
Bring back maturing in sherry casks and cut the stupid hype.
Viking honour? Viking horror more like.

26th August 2018

A huge letdown.

As an old admirer of Highland Park I bought this 12 YO Viking Honour recently.

I have enjoyed some very good Highland Parks since the late 1990’s, especially the 18 YO. Now I’m wondering if Highland Park is trying to destroy their reputation completely.

The latest 18 YO I bought was nothing near older bottlings in quality, and this Viking Honour is so bad I will not drink it up.

What are they doing up there at the distillery? Maybe they attract new customer knowing nothing about whisky with this Viking stuff, but as a Norwegian I think my ancestors the Vikings would turn around in their graves if such a bad whisky had their name on the bottle.

The smell had a touch of smoke, a touch of honey, but in the mouth, the taste and aftertaste it was horrific. Raw spirit taste, and not the best spirit either. The casks used must be of the lowest order used way to many times.

It is cheap, but it is a reason for that. Goodbye to Highland Park from me, I say this with sadness, but you can’t let quality suffer like this and sell such a bad whisky to paying customers. I’ve read that it is the same old 12 YO, well if you belive in Santa Claus maybe. The old 12 YO was a good 3 star whisky in my book, this is undrinkable for enjoyment and deserves a zero.

25th August 2018

Arr!

Tis a saft drink, this one - grand nose, though much less bright and subtle than the 'tasting' 'notes' suggest. More burnt than grilled orange. Green tea and jasmine very much absent - white pepper and wood to the fore, more aftertaste than taste. Orange Fanta is much more satisfying and thirst quenching and just as easy to down a pint of. Save up £20 more and buy an Ardbeg 10 and drinnk a maaaannnns drink ARRRRR!!!!!

18th August 2018

Excellent

Just cracked open my bottle tonight and I find it very balanced and quite delicious, don’t know why so many bad reviews, for the price you cannot go wrong

16th August 2018

Not bad, but it's boring when compared to the old version

I just tried this new viking edition side by side with the old non-viking edition, and I'm very sad to say, the difference is like night and day.
This is the same flavor, true, but the old version has less caramel sweetness, but much more smoke.

Still not a bad whisky, good for first timers and people who may get turned off by strong flavors, but the viking version is just.. boring.

16th August 2018

Not as good as it was

Great value and I personally love the new bottle design.
However, the contents are not as good as they were before this 'Viking Honour' marketing ploy.
I agree with comments of a rather rushed distillation and maturation in some pretty clapped-out casks.

30th July 2018

The best of the best

BALANCE is the word... sweetness, smoke, and bitter. This dram has everything.

13th July 2018

Bland

Did nothing for me, felt bland and uneventful. This definitely didn’t live up to the hype it gets.

12th July 2018

Much better than many other reviews suggest

Just tanned the last dram of this - I am now sad. HP 12 vh is one of my favs - hint of smoke on the nose gives way to a lovely bittersweet taste that to me is distinctive and outstanding - for a £30 bottle of malt you’ll struggle to find better bottle

6th July 2018

Smooth and sweet. And simply stunning for the price!

This is one of my favourite whiskies. Very smooth, hints of lavender, citrus, wood and honey. Haven’t found another in a similar price range as good as this one. Perfect with a wee drop of water to open up the flavours!
Only negative... far too easy to drink!

5th July 2018

Don't bother

Did not like. Stick with the regular 12 year offering if you can find it.

18th June 2018

I ain't complaining...

... I'm just done. Skipping. Loved the HP12 (and grabbed a couple of extra bottles while I could), despite the somewhat ugly bourbon-style bottle, but at least it looked rustic, that didn't bother me and the carton tube was great.

Packaging and marketing that abuses my intelligence, well I'd actually be embarrassed to own a bottle like that - it screams "I'm an ignoramus, I buy packaging and hype, not content".

Remember when the rugged vikings sipped single malt in their victory halls? No? Neither does anybody cuz it never happened. They looted Scotland centuries before distillation began. So why bother with this tripe? :)

6th June 2018

Viking Bollox.

Nope - this is FAR from the quality HP 12 used to be. VERY short finish which suggests distilling as fast as possible, then emptied into knackered casks with nothing to add to the spirit. And this is why they can sell it cheaper than any other 12 y/o malt.

Don't believe me? try Scapa Glansa instead - same island, similar age, MUCH better. Oh... and I guess they can claim Viking heritage as well.

Stop complaining indeed - just buy something else.

21st May 2018

Stop complaining; this is the same good whisky that it was

Some people online are crazy about how the new bottling is completely different and worse. Is it different? Perhaps, but slightly. Do I believe these people can identify it in a blind test? Absolutely not.
Onto the whisky: nose is floral with smoky background; the palate does not let down: peaty smoke that reveals orange, honey, and subtle spice. Good length finish that is peaty. I'd highly recommend it.
One last rant about marketing: If marketing disgusts you so much that it changes the taste of the whisky in your mouth, then go hire a good marketer and let them change it back.

19th May 2018

Solid 4 stars.

Nice, balanced.
Pricing very good.

Don't listen to the haters.
At that price, its a solid 4 stars.

4th May 2018

OK, but marketing is nonsense.

As far as I can tell, this is pretty much the same (Pretty good) stuff as before. The marketing is complete BS however. What nonsense! Sad, in fact. Viking WTF? Dimnishes the brand. Silly (IMHO)

19th April 2018

Marketing gets in the way of a fine whisky

Marketing style over substance. I liked HP before the recent rebranding, and underneath it all it’s still a decent enough whisky.
But it’s compromised as a result, and in my view the insane marketing of the broader range, including multiple HP variants and the endless variations on the Viking theme, is starting to look embarrassing. I know that HP has a very strong fan base, but it’s starting to feel less like a mature traditional whisky with real heritage and respect (all of which it used to have in spades) and more like an exercise in ‘clever’ marketing aimed only at collectors. That’s sad and it’s damaging the reputation of a very fine whisky.

14th April 2018

Underrated

On the nose butter like orchard fruits, possibly rich dark chocolate.
On the pallet Smokey honey and fresh fruit.
Finish is sweet slightly Smokey and not overly long.
A very nice anytime dram ( in my opinion)

26th March 2018

snowflake's honour

Dissapointing. somewhat weak and diluted, nicely honey/fruity and approachable but but but I thought Vikings were MEN ??
This is definitely a '"metro" version and more appropriately called "snowflake's honour"
I'm sorry but even JW Black walks all over this with bare feet. I want my $39 back !!

20th March 2018

Disappointing.

All that hype of "entry level" single malt...It's alright but nothing memorable. Yes, it has a proper Highland character of spicy finish, but I dont understand why is so popular on many whiskey forums. I genuinely have more joy from drinking blends like JW Black than from this single malt. Buy Old Pultney 12 instead, at least you're going to get something with own character.
I tasted it few times and I am not going to buy a whole bottle. I would give it 3 stars, but because of all the hype around it, I take 0.5 star home with me.

16th March 2018

Refreshing

Really nice well balanced well worth the cost

11th March 2018

Marketing trumps product

Not the old HP12 at all, side by side this one is weak and bland.

I'll be looking out for old stock of the good stuff before it gets collectable.

9th March 2018

Amazing

Great whisky

4th March 2018

VERY disappointing (if one tried the older version)

Compared to its predecessor - a true let down. Lacks both smoothness and richness of the older 12. I dare say I would rather buy the new 10 than this (not much difference to be honest). This one is definitely not worth its price.

16th February 2018

A let down

I was very disappointed to see the well-loved HP 12 converted into 'Viking Honour', an entirely bogus name which I suppose was cynically chosen by the marketing men to appeal to less sophisticated buyers. A heavy pretentious bottle covered in Gaelic swirls. I was also disappointed with the whisky to drink, it is not the same, and has lost the smoothness of the real thing. Unlike all previous HP's I wasn't sorry to finish it.

12th February 2018

I like!!

Even though I drink single malt scotch more than any other liquor, I am no expert. So no comments from me on nose etc. But I know what I like - and this one, I like. Not too peaty. And a very reasonable price.

7th February 2018

Great introduction for fellow newbies to peated whisky

As a newbie to scotch with only having 6 other bottles of moderately priced whisky under my belt I have to say that this is a close 2nd for me behind my favourite Johnnie Walker black. I enjoy the long finish with the peppery spice, on the nose I don't find it overwhelming and am able to pick out a few characteristics yet still have trouble picking out individual flavours but I put that down to inexperience in tasting. Would definitely recommend any fellow newbies to give it a shot especially as I would say it's a gentle introduction to peated whiskys especially if you can find it on special offer.

4th February 2018

Not the same

Honestly, this is not the original Highland Park 12. What I bought is on a par with a cheap blend and is harsh for what I paid for it. Second the Benromach ten, much better for the same price. Even ballantines is better

2nd February 2018

Did I get one of the last "old" bottlings?

I bought mine a couple of years ago, before the "viking" rebranding. Mine is the one that Ralfy said is a "bourbon bottle" design. It was on sale for a few bucks less. I love it and savoring the now half-bottle for special occasions. I would give 4.5 stars and would give 5 if it was 46% without chill-filtration and colorant.

Ok, so I didn't like the old bottle, but liked the malt. Now I'm hesitant to try the new HP12, despite the nicer bottle. What I REALLY don't understand is the whole viking motiff... didn't vikings ravage the Scottish shores, looting the goods, raping and pillaging? Shouldn't Scotch be about Scotland? Instead of paying a viking designer maybe invest in casks? I might try the new bottle if I see it reduced, but I hope I don't get disappointed (say it ain't so!) :)

2nd February 2018

Untouchable

Search for an online review... NONE except those bought and paid for by H.P.

Ask yourself why none of the usual bloggers / vloggers / reviewers will tough it?

31st January 2018

I like it.

There’s no manuka honey in it.

23rd January 2018

Would definitely recommend..

Really fresh, creamy, floral sweetness, citrus, honey, fresh lawn maybe, perhaps scorched fresh orange oil (like when garnishing a Cosmopolitan), agave syrup maybe, light smokiness with a lovely pepper and spice finish.. Very nice Island malt, opens up lovely with a few drops of water.

21st December 2017

Awful

After the first few glasses, I gave up on this bottle, its rubbish as a single malt. Ended up using the rest in my home-made blend as a filler, with some DECENT peated Islay (caol isla) for smokey top-notes and older Tomintoul to add depth and richness.

Seriously H.P. how low can you get - this in my opinion its barely worth using in a blend. Go knows how many times the casks had been re-used.

20th December 2017

Terrific!

I think your tasting notes are spot-on. It has a wonderful nose and an interesting palate. The finish is truly long and peppery without any overwhelming harshness.

18th December 2017

Smooth and delicious

New to the world of scotch.. so far I've tried a bottle of Chivas Regal 12 year, Chivas Regal 18 year, and some Glenlivet 12 year. I didn't think much of scotch until I tried to drink Bourbon for the first time and found it absolutely disgusting. Now I just purchased this bottle of HP 12 year Viking Honor and it's really freaking good. Sniffing the cork I could smell the honey. And sipping on my first glass, I'm loving every sip. I'm not a seasoned scotch drinker, but, so far any scotch is better than a cheap corn infused bourbon. I poured a glass on the rocks, and it's smooth, mellow, sweet but not too sweet and smells wonderful. Would buy again. There may be better scotch's out there but I haven't gotten a chance to try them yet. This is my first tasting of Highland Park scotch whiskey.. and I love it.

16th December 2017

Great drinkable whisky

There are two stables of my cupboard for whiskys that I just want to drink day after day and this is one of them along with the balvenie carribean cask. An absolute awesome dram for the £

9th December 2017

Neither fish nor fowl

Bought this as I had always wanted to try the original HP, not knowing that it had changed. I never got around to trying the original HP, so I cannot truly compare this to it, but here goes. The viking theme is a bit fake and naff, although the bottle design is kinda cool in its own right. This is not a terrible dram, but for me it did not live up to the high expectations I had formed based on the reputation of the original. First impression is good, a mild burst of almost islay-like smoke, but then instead of the long mellow highland finish I might have expected there is a sharp burst of rye-like peppery quality, with rather long bitter citrus finish. Now I love smokey islays and I love peppery ryes, but the 2 profiles do not sit comfortably together for me in combination. Clearly this is not swill, but it does not feel as satisfying and well integrated as I had hoped. It does not seem to know what it wants to be. Neither fish nor fowl

7th December 2017

Basically the vintage got crap so they rebranded.

The original Highland Park 12 is my favourite single malt by a long way.This one lacks depth and complexity. I hope we don't have to wait too many years for a decent Highland Park again!

4th December 2017

Why Mess with What Works??

I have been drinking HP 12 for nearly 15 years. This is not only a horrible marketing re-brand, but don't believe if when they say the formulation is the same. It isn't. It's weaker. It flat-out sucks. Switching to Oban.

1st December 2017

Very good so far

My first contact with a Single Malt Scotch Whisky and it completely changed my world. It's so nice, the peat is smooth but awesome.

29th November 2017

Buy something else. Springbank 10 or Benromach 10

Not what it used to be. Just plain dull

26th November 2017

Must try

Very smooth and tasty. Really good for a 12 yr.

25th November 2017

A good all round malt.

Yes there is hype but underlying this is the fact that this is a finely balanced dram that ticks most boxes.

19th November 2017

What's happened to HP?

All style and no substance. Firstly, I half expected a tiny viking to jump out of the box swinging a small axe. That might have been preferable...this is so dull. HPs standard offering has been on the decline for years, and this is another rung down the ladder. Drinkable but drab.

11th November 2017

Apparently not...

...possible to give zero stars, so half star it is. An over-packaged, sulphured disappointment. Don't believe the marketing/hype.

30th October 2017

Is it possible to give zero?

Horrible new redesign and packaging and a whisky that tastes of sulphur. Don't believe the hype/marketing.

29th October 2017

What happened?

Used to be excellent. Isn't any more.

29th October 2017

Absolute best

I agree with Craig Ferguson, HP is the very finest spirit in the world.

26th October 2017

Brilliant one of the best,

I take after my old man he liked s good single malt this one's for you dad xxxx experience

14th October 2017

A fantastic smooth quality whisky

A very easy drinkable single malt brought by a friend now a real good friend, loved it

13th October 2017

fantastic price/quality ratio, but light and delicate. Not for those who need a kick to the head...

You gotta love the "anti hype" people have. I've had it and it is the exact same stuff believe me. HP ambassodor also assured me it is just new bottle to tie it together with the others. And why not? Vikings where from there, and lets face it, branding matters.

Enough of that; it is a properly good whisky. But light and delicate in comparison to the older stuff, I know, huge surprise right!? I was recently in a tasting and everybody liked the 12. Valkyrie is much more a divider, some like, some don't "cause it doesn't taste like hp" ??? So you want all of them to taste the same? Some whisky snobs...

13th October 2017

Choose another single malt

I don't know if I got a bad bottle but to me this is pretty tasteless. Not at all that excellent the previous 12 YO that were one of my favorite.

7th October 2017

Love the whisky though

Hate hate hate the branding, marketing and packaging.

6th October 2017

Carney get better for the price

Lovely smooth smoky whisky a must in my whisky cabinet.

4th October 2017

Very good

Very smooth. I liked it. Rekomended

1st October 2017

Not Great

Poor, especially compared to the usual HP. Gives me Grouse vibes, nasty lingering after taste often found with cheap blends.

27th September 2017

just dont

don't be fooled by the fancy bottle...its proper rubbish compared to the original

17th September 2017

crap

its a nicely decorated bottle and nothing more. why did they do this?

17th September 2017

Very good whisky at this price mark.

Ive liked Highland Park for a few too many years, it's very easy to drink and with good flavours and nose to it
( for the record i detect no sweaty socks... I will in future be smelling my socks carefully incase i'm wrong :-)
Sweet with a delicate smokey after taste which all in all is very agreeable.
Would recommend this Whisky.

2nd September 2017

9/10 all day long

Amazing taste goes down to easy ..

1st September 2017

A nice evening dram.

Fresh and light on the nose. I get the creamy undertones
I find it rather light and uninspiring on the palate, but a very nice spicy finish.

30th August 2017

Perfect

Lovely dram

29th August 2017

Great value.

Really nice, clean dram. For the price, super value.

13th August 2017

Very smooth and slightly peaty

The Highland Park 12 year old viking honour is very smooth and slightly peaty. It holds 1st place in my ' tour of scotland cabinet '

7th August 2017

Def 4 star whisky

This is a very nice malt one of the best i have had in a long time actually it goes down to easily and one is never enough the bottle shape and design are brilliant might have to re use it also price is just fantastic for a 12 year old

22nd July 2017

A triumph of marketing over content

Screams of marketing overload for the duty free shelves, quite frankly irrelevant 'viking' bollox which I find tacky and somehow cartoon like. Add to that the caramel orange glow, pennypinching 40% strength, and chill filtering. Yes folks this is a full-on commercial product trading on previous reputations. Shame because the previous packaging was quite classy. £32 in Morrisons

In the glass, its a differant story. Nose is like an aged grain whisky (not a bad thing) with tropical fruits & some heather (certainly no smoke), taste is sharper & typically H.P. dry yet quite rounded - there's a 'tang' to it but it's not peat - finish is short except the tang turns into a youthful nip. Strangely, in an empty glass the residual nose is really good!

In conclusion - absolutely zero smoke or peat - its quite drinkable as an alternative to Chival Regal 12 (or similar) but NO WAY does this do credit to Highland Park as a single malt. This goes to the back of the cupboard, for flaming steaks (in a viking style of course)

6th July 2017

Nice little dram to keep handy

Lacking in complexity a bit, but for the price it's a steal (and there is hardly anything more complex for this kind of money anyway). Sweet, smooth and totally enjoyable. Also - brilliant new design.

2nd July 2017

no stars

Horrible!
As soon as I took out the cork it smelled of sweaty socks.
I have never tasted "sweaty socks" but the taste was what I imagined they would taste.
Not an improvement and a big disappointment.
I wont be buying this again.Back to Laphroig!

27th June 2017

Exceptional value whisky.

This is a crazy good whisky for £25. I normally choose an Islay malt but this is such a drinkable, approachable and (in the best possible way) relatively undemanding drink. For me the strength lies in the smoky finish and I love it. Gotta say I also love the re-branding.

26th June 2017

Excellent

Received a bottle for my Birthday, thoroughly enjoyed, and enjoying it.

15th June 2017

First class whisky

What a bargain! A great whisky at a great price. A Viking triumph.

12th June 2017

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