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Highland Park 12 vs Highland Park 18: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Highland Park 12 vs Highland Park 18 in this in-depth comparison and decide which Whisky is better for You!

Highland Park 12

highland-park-12
  • Nose: Floral, smoke, orange, honey
  • Palate: Cereal, orange, green tea, smoke
  • Finish: Long, oak, pepper
  • Alcohol content: 86 proof (43% ABV)
  • How to drink: Add water
  • Similar to: Bunnahabhain 12, Aberlour 12

Taste:

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.

Is it good?

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.

Highland Park 12 facts:

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

Highland Park 18

highland-park-18-marcas-de-whisky
  • Nose: Smoke, oak
  • Palate: Citrus, cinnamon, chocolate, honey, smoke
  • Finish: Long, oak spice, smoke
  • Alcohol content: 86 proof (43% ABV)
  • How to drink: Add water
  • Similar to: Blue Label, Macallan 18

Taste:

Highland Park 18 was named as ‘Best Spirit in the World’ by F Paul Pacult of the Spirit Journal. Something I don’t agree with but you get the idea that we are talking about a damn good Scotch.

Smoke hits with smoke at first, giving way to a pleasant oak note.

On the palate, the Highland Park feels somewhat thin lacking in body. Flavor has a high citrus note along cinnamon and chocolate, followed by honey and subtle smoke.

The finish is long and pleasantly warm, a bit dry, with some oak spice to it but nothing too severe, a gentle touch of smoke and a moderate bite to remind you that you are drinking whisky.

Is it good?

If you have tried the Highland Park 12 you are going to find many of those tasting notes in the 18 YO just that better in every way

Overall, the Highland Park 18 is a quite good moderately smoky malt but perhaps a bit too dry, oaky and thin to be sublime.

Highland Park 18 facts:

  • Aged for 18 years in using both European and American oak that are previously sent off to Spain to be seasoned with Oloroso Sherry. Oloroso is a dry and aromatic style of sweet and delicious sherry wine.
  • Named as ‘Best Spirit in the World’ by Paul Pacult of the Spirit Journal.
  • Winner of the 2018 and 2019 Chairman’s Trophy for Best Island Single Malt.

Highland Park 12 vs Highland Park 18: Price Comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Highland Park WhiskyPrice
12 Year$54
18 Year$160

Highland Park 12 vs Highland Park 18: Which is better?

The 18 YO is an upgrade

  • Those 6 additional years made the Highland Park 18 a much better whisky than its 12 year sibling as everything settled nicely in the barrel.
  • They share most of the tasting notes but the 18 YO is a more refined and less peppery and peaty dram although a bit high in oak.
  • I do not agree with Pacult when calling this the best whisky in the world, but it ranks quite high making a good choice for those willing to spend top money in a fine malt.

Highland Park Whisky

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

Single malt whisky is the specialty of the house. Under the UK’s Scotch Whisky Regulations a single malt Scotch must be made exclusively from malted barley, must be distilled using pot stills at a single distillery and must be aged for no less than 3 years in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres (180 gallons).

These set of regulations allow distillers to use caramel coloring to make whiskies look more appealing.

Highland Park does not use neither coloring nor additives to craft their fantastic single malts. When you buy a Highland Park rest assured that you are buying a whisky free of additives.

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