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Bowmore 12 vs Highland Park 12: Discover the Better!

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

Bowmore 12

  • Nose: Smoke, pineapple, orange.
  • Palate: Medium body, ripe fruit, honey, vanilla, iodine.
  • Finish: Short, smoke, mineral, charred oak.

Nose hits with a strong smoky note from the peats used to dry the malted barley at first, followed by a hint of pineapple and citrus.

On the palate, Bowmore has a medium body providing a pleasant mouthfeel. On the first sip I get ripe fruit and honey, along vanilla, a touch of iodine typical of Islay malts and just a tad of smoke.

The finish is short, with a subtle hint of smoke, a mineral note and charred oak from the bourbon barrels in which it was aged.

This is a good pour for those who want a subtle hit of smoke as this whisky is quite restrained when compared to other Islay releases as Bowmore only uses half as much peat to dry the malted barley.

Bowmore 12 lacks proof as it would be immensely better at 90 proof (45% ABV) and the finish is a bit short but a pleasant sip nonetheless, as it does not have any off-putting note and doesn’t feel warm providing a good experience.

Learn how it compares to the Ardbeg 10!

There are a few facts worth knowing about this Scotch:

  • Bottled at 80 proof (40% ABV).

  • The Bowmore 12 was aged using ex-sherry and ex-bourbon barrels.

  • Won a gold medal at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

  • Bowmore is one of the few distilleries that continues to hand-turn, malt, and peat its own barley.

  • Bowmore was founded in 1779 being the oldest distillery of Islay and the second oldest in Scotland.

  • It now belongs to Beam Suntory from Japan. This conglomerate also owns Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark.

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.

Discover if Highland Park is better than Ardbeg!

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.

Bowmore 12 vs Highland Park 12: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Bowmore 12$60
Highland Park 12$63

Bowmore 12 vs Highland Park 12: which is better?

Both whiskies are moderate on the smoke

WhiskeyBowmore 12Highland Park 12
  • Bowmore and Highland Park make good choice for those looking for a single malt with modest smoke content.

  • Personally, I prefer Bowmore’s tasting notes as I’m fond of Islay typical iodine note. I suggest you look into the tasting notes I have described and find the ones that suit you better.

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