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Bunnahabhain 12 vs Highland Park 12: Head to Head!

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

Bunnahabhain 12

Bunnahabhain-12
NoseLight smoke, raisin, prune, cocoa
PalateSherry, red fruit, oak spice
FinishMedium, nutty, oak spice
Alcohol content93 proof (46.3% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toCaol Ila 12, Bruichladdich

The nose offers a faint smoky note that gives way to hints of raisins, prunes and a touch of cocoa.

On the palate, Bunnahabhain provides a good mouthfeel as it feels creamy. Flavor is smooth and mostly sweet at first with notes of sherry and red fruit, giving way to a oak spice on the back on the back of the mouth becoming a bit bitter.

The finish has a medium length, with a nutty hint, with more oak spice to it providing a bitter touch.

Adding water makes the Bunnahabhain 12 better as it becomes sweeter while tuning down the oak spice making it more approachable.

Islay whiskies are famous for fiery, heavily peated whiskies, yet the Bunnahabhain is the least smoky whisky produced in the island, so it tastes more like a Speyside Whisky (Macallan or Glenfiddich).

Good option for those who are yet to be baptized in smoky whisky and want to start with an overly easy drinker. Just make sure to add a dash of water to it as it improves widely.

Learn how it compares to the Bruichladdich Classic Laddie!

There are a few facts worth knowing about Bunnahabhain 12:

  • Aged for a dozen years using 70% ex-bourbon barrels and 30% ex-sherry barrels.
  • This whisky is presented in natural color and was not chill-filtered.
  • Founded in 1881 near Port Askaig on Islay making the most remote distillery on Islay.
  • Owned by South Africa-based Distell.

Highland Park 12

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 toSpringbank 10, Kilchoman

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 how it compares to the Johnnie Walker Black Label!

There are a few facts worth knowing about this whisky:

  • 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 distillery in Scotland, located in Kirkwall on the Orkney Islands.

Bunnahabhain 12 vs Highland Park 12: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskyPrice
Bunnahabhain 12$63
Highland Park 12$60

Bunnahabhain 12 vs Highland Park 12: Which is better?

Bunnahabhain 12 is much lighter on the smoke

WhiskeyBunnahabhainHighland Park
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • The Bunnahabhain 12 is one of the lightest whiskies on the smoke, while the Highland Park is heavier but still quite moderate when compares to Laphroaig or Ardbeg.
  • Choose your warrior depending on how much smoke are you willing to taste.

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