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Ardbeg 10 vs Highland Park 12: Discover the Better!

Discover the differences between Ardbeg 10 vs Highland Park 12 in this in-depth comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Ardbeg 10

ardbeg-10
  • Nose: Rich in smoke, ash, coal, caramel and spice.
  • Palate: Smoke, tobacco, coffee and bacon.
  • Finish: Looong, caramel, smoke.

Nose is full of smoke, ash and coal but mellows out into a rich caramel scent as you let it develop in the glass.

On the palate, this malt provides a thick creamy body. Flavor brings a blast of smoke, along notes of tobacco, espresso coffee and a meaty bacon note.

Everything is nicely balanced against caramel notes making it remarkably good.

The finish is long and warming, with smoke, sweet caramel and a dash of black pepper.

Ardbeg 10 is a whisky made for seasoned peat and smoke lovers.

This whisky is complex and delicioussmooth and well-rounded, rich in caramel and smoke, along mineral and sweet notes. This is one of the best malts for smoke enthusiasts.

Few whiskies are as full and rich in peat and smoke than the Ardbeg. If you are new to this type of whisky you might find it overwhelming hence don’t expect to like it as much as I do on the first date.

Whiskies of this type are an acquired taste that demand practice to be fully enjoyed. Once you come to terms with it you will find a hard time enjoying traditional Scotch whiskies.

If you feel overwhelmed by the Ardbeg add a few drops of water releasing sweet and floral notes making it easier to drink.

Ardbeg is one of the best 10 year whiskies you can buy today!

Learn how it compares to the Talisker 10!

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Ardbeg:

  • Bottled at 92 proof (46% ABV).

  • Aged for 10 years in bourbon barrels.

  • The Ardbeg Distillery was founded in 1815 and produced in the Scottish island of Islay (pronounced “ai-luh”). This island of just 240 square miles is home of some of the best whisky distillers in the world.

  • Won Gold medal in the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

  • Ardbeg does not add caramel-coloring to the whisky.

  • This whisky was not chill-filtered.

Highland Park 12

highland-park-12
  • Nose: Floral and smoky aroma, citrus, honey and light grassiness.
  • Palate: Medium-body, cereal, citrus, green tea, light smoke.
  • Finish: Long, oak, black pepper.

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 palate.

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 too thin for my taste and somewhat boring. It does get better if you add a dash of water, though.

This is one of the best 12 year old malts you can buy today!

Learn how it compares to the Highland Park 18!

There are a few facts worth knowing about this whisky:

  • Bottled at 86 proof (43% ABV).

  • Highland Park ages its whiskies in a combination of European and American casks that previously stored Spanish Oloroso Sherry Wine.

  • This whisky is free of additives, sweeteners, colorants or any chemical compound. Made exclusively using malted barley and water; that’s it!

  • This brand has been in business since 1798 and is the northernmost single malt Scotch whisky distillery in Scotland, located in Kirkwall on the Orkney Islands.

  • Today, the company belongs to the Edrington Group who also owns other well-known whisky brands such as Macallan, Glenrothes and the modest Famous Grouse.

What do Ardbeg and Highland Park have in common?

These whiskies are fully legit

Neither Ardbeg nor Highland Park add caramel-coloring to make it look more appealing. This practice is allowed under the set of regulations that govern Scotch Whisky but some purists frown upon the idea of adding artificial colors.

Ardbeg vs Highland Park: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskyPrice
Ardbeg 10$62
Highland Park 12$60

Ardbeg 10 vs Highland Park 12: Which is better?

Ardbeg is a smoke bomb making it more challenging

WhiskeyArdbeg 10Highland Park 12
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • Ardbeg demands a more determined consumer to fully enjoy its overly smoky flavor.

  • Personally, I find it to be quite good but this malt is not for everyone as many people feel overwhelmed by the intense smoky profile.

  • Highland Park is easy on the smoke as it is just a secondary note letting you appreciate other flavors.

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