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Highland Park 18 vs Talisker 18: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Highland Park 18 vs Talisker 18 in this head to head comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Highland Park 18

NoseSmoke, oak
PalateCitrus, cinnamon, chocolate, honey, smoke
FinishLong, oak spice, smoke
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toOban 18, Macallan 18

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 whisky.

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.

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.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the HP 18:

  • 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.

  • Winner of the 2018 and 2019 Chairman’s Trophy for Best Island Single Malt.

  • Highland Park is crafted at Scotland’s northernmost distillery in the Orkney Islands.

  • The Highland Park Distillery was founded in 1798 by Magnus Eunson, who was a church officer in the mornings and moonlighted as a illicit distiller and smuggler by night.

Talisker 18

NoseSmoke, ripe fruit
PalateSmoke, bacon, ripe fruit
FinishLong, smoke, oak spice
Alcohol content92 proof (46% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toOban 18, Lagavulin 16

Talisker is an Island Whisky and these malts are famous for their smoky characters although Talisker is quite restrained on the smoke when compared to brands like Ardbeg or Laphroaig.

The nose hits with smoke, followed by a nice fruity note.

On the palate, the Talisker 18 displays a good creamy body. Flavor delivers light smoke up-front, along a meaty note that tastes like smoked bacon, ripe fruit and a bit of brine and oak.

The finish lingers with soft smoke, along a bit of oak spice, salt and very little warmth making a incredibly tasty and satisfying malt.

It has a nice oily texture, is briny, peaty and meaty without overwhelming the fruit and spice accomplishing a good balance.

This whisky drinks nicely neat but if you find it too peaty add a dash of water, that will tune it down a bit while making it sweeter and easier to sip.

Overall, the Talisker 18 is a great Scotch with still moderate peat presence product of the long aging, well balanced against fruity and spicy notes making a great “everyday whisky“.

This is the Best Talisker Scotch and one I can’t recommend enough.

There are a few facts worth knowing about this whisky:

  • Aged for 18 years in traditional oak casks.
  • “Best Whisky in the World” at the World Whiskies Awards in 2007.
  • Talisker is an Island Whisky crafted in the Isle of Skye since 1830; founded by Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill.
  • This brand is owned by Diageo and is a major contributor to the Johnnie Walker Black Label blends.

Price comparison

Price are approximate and stated in USD:

Highland Park 18$175
Talisker 18$170

Highland Park 18 vs Talisker 18: Which is better?

Talisker 18 is a more interesting whisky

WhiskeyHighland Park 18Talisker 18
  • These whiskies are similar as they have many notes in common just that the Talisker 18 provides more body to it at a slight higher proof that doesn’t feel.

  • A bit more smoky, but just a touch, with a rich mineral note making an entirely satisfying Single Malt.

  • Talisker 18 uses caramel-coloring while the Highland Park does not which for me is not an important factor but it has to be disclosed.

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