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Aberlour 12 vs Highland Park 12: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Aberlour 12 vs Highland Park 12 in this head to head comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Aberlour 12

NoseRaisins, baking spice, charred oak
PalateCaramel, spice, nutmeg, charred oak
FinishChocolate, cinnamon, charred oak
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toGlenlivet 12, Aberfeldy 12, A’bunadh

Nose is quite pleasing as it offers an aroma high in raisins, followed by baking spice and burnt oak.

On the palate, Aberlour provides a good mouthfeel as it has a creamy body. First sip hits with spice, but nothing extreme, as you keep drinking it caramel pops-up, along hints of nutmeg and more charred oak.

The finish has a decent length, with a hint of bitter chocolate and cinnamon, along charred oak which is present from start to finish.

Adding a drop or two of water releases more caramel, although it also brings more charred oak.

Overall, Aberlour 12 is a solid whisky, rich in burnt oak but not overpowering, rich and sweet, smooth and gentle on the throat, making a good combination of easy going and yet interesting.

Something that I particularly like about this malt is the bottle design, that it’s not only unique but quite classy.

Aberlour 12 facts:

  • Aged in a combination ex-bourbon barrels and ex-Oloroso sherry casks.
  • The distillery was founded in 1879 by James Fleming, his motto was ‘Let the deed show.’
  • The distillery is located in Aberlour, Strathspey at the confluence of the Lour Burn and River Spey near Ben Rinnes.
  • In 1975 Aberlour was acquired by Pernod Ricard, a French drinks giant who owns a wide range of spirits in every category including Chivas Regal and Glenlivet.

Highland Park 12

NoseFloral, smoke, orange, honey
PalateCereal, orange, green tea, smoke
FinishLong, oak, pepper
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toBlack Label, Bowmore 12

Nose is notoriously floral, with hints of citrus and honey. There is a smoky note on the nose that does not show as high on the flavor.

On the palate, it feels somewhat thin lacking in body. Mouthfeel is smooth and sweet, with a bit of iodine, honey and subtle smoke.

The finish is peppery, moderately sweet, and short, with just a tad of oak.

The Highland Park 12 gets entirely better with a few drops of water as it becomes sweeter and some meaty notes appear.

Highland Park 12 is neither as peaty as the whiskies from Islay nor as sweet and smooth as the whiskies from Speyside; sits in the middle of the road.

It is sweet, there’s smoke in limited amounts making a good option for those who want to get baptized into peaty whisky before trying the peaty-monsters.

Overall, Highland Park 12 is a solid basic single malt a bit thin for my taste and somewhat boring. It does get better if you add a dash of water, though.

Learn more about this brand by reading my post: Discover the Best Highland Park where I rank every release.

Highland Park 12 facts:

  • Highland Park ages its whiskies in a combination of European and American casks that previously stored Spanish Oloroso Sherry Wine.
  • This brand has been in business since 1798 and is the northernmost distillery in Scotland, located in Kirkwall on the Orkney Islands.
  • Highland Park is owned by the Edrington Group who also holds Macallan.

Aberlour 12 vs Highland Park 12: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Aberlour 12$53
Highland Park 12$55

Aberlour 12 vs Highland Park 12: Which is better?

The Aberlour is easier to like

WhiskeyAberlour 12Highland Park 12
  • I have included both whiskies among the best 12 year Single Malts so you can’t go wrong with whichever you try, but if I had to choose I’d go with the Aberlour.
  • Highland Park has never been my jam. It sits in the middle between being a smoky and sherried whisky and I’m yet to like it.
  • Either a full sherried or a full smoky whisky and Highland Park is neither one nor the other.
  • Aberlour is not a breath-taking whisky, but drinks nicely, with no controversies providing a good experience.