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Dalmore 12 vs Highland Park 12: Discover the Better!

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

Dalmore 12

dalmore-12
  • Nose: Dark fruit, citrus, chocolate, cinnamon, plum.
  • Palate: Apricot, fig, grape, pecan.
  • Finish: Short, dark fruit, baking spice, bitter.

The nose is quite good and promising as it’s rich in dark fruit, orange and chocolate, followed by hints of cinnamon and plum.

On the palate, Dalmore falls flat as it feels thin and watery. Flavor hits with fruity sweetness that becomes somewhat cloying after a few sips.

The finish is short, with some warmth to it, with dark fruit, baking spice and a bitter note delivering a bad ending.

Adding water does not bring any additional flavors, it just waters down an already thin malt.

This whisky takes an unfortunate downturn after a rich nose as it provides a bad mouthfeel, a cloying flavor and a bitter note making it a bad sip.

The low proof does not help its cause making the Dalmore 12 something I can’t recommend.

Marketing materials and PR sell it as “Christmas Cake on a glass” which I never got.

Learn how it compares to the Dalmore 15!

There are a few facts worth knowing about this whisky:

  • Bottled at 80 proof (40% ABV).

  • Dalmore ages for 9 years in ex-bourbon barrels before getting split. Half ages for 3 years in thirty year-old Matusalem oloroso sherry casks and the other half remains in the ex-bourbon casks.

  • Earned the Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

  • Scored 95 points at the 2019 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.

  • Dalmore is a Highland whisky located in Alness, Scotland, founded in 1839 by Alexander Matheson.

  • The brand is currently owned by Whyte & Mackay who also owns Jura among several other whiskies.

  • Whyte & Mackay is now owned by Philippines-based Emperador Inc.

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.

Learn how it compares to the Macallan 12!

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.

Dalmore 12 vs Highland Park 12: Price comparison

Price are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskyPrice
Dalmore 12$70
Highland Park 12$60

Dalmore 12 vs Highland Park 12: Which is better?

Highland Park 12 is a better tasting single malt

WhiskeyDalmore 12Highland Park 12
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • Highland Park is one of the best 12 year whiskies, while the Dalmore 12 is quite disappointing. Too thin, cloying, with a bad finish making a bad whisky.

  • Highland Park 12 is a solid option for those who want a smoky whisky yet quite moderate letting you appreciate other flavors.

  • If you are interested in a sherried whisky there are several better option over the Dalmore such as the Glenmorangie or the GlenDronach.

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