Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Highland Park 12 year Single Malt

The Scotch Noob (scotchnoob.com) claims to be for the newbie scotch drinkers. I, however, am far more certified in that regard and that's hardly a compliment.

Months back, when I wanted to branch out, I began taking recommendations. Trying smokier and peatier scotches was a bit frightening, but it's what everyone seems to love. My first peated scotch was an Ardbeg, a deadly thing that nearly destroyed me. I still sweat nervously thinking about it. A number of people suggested Highland Park 12 as the perfect way to ease into it. A sale at the LCBO was my green light and I picked up a 750ml bottle for $55.

Despite huge recommendations and whisky guru Jim Murray declaring it "The perfect all-rounder..." I had a tough time with this one. The nose was fine. A bit of an off-putting yet intriguing old cabin smell, moderately smoky, and after some careful consideration a bit of caramel, but not sweet.

On my tongue was smooth, rich, medium smoke, a bit woody. I almost felt like I was camping. It was pushing my limits - a bit too strong for me and not very complex.

The finish was similar. Warm and smokey. Images flashed through my mind of sitting in a rustic, patched chair in a cabin, dying most likely. As the finish finished the imagery changed to the deck of the cabin, near the water. I was still alive. A bit salty and dry. The scotch, not me.

The problem is I happen to be a supertaster. You can look it up. In a nutshell, I experience flavour at a much more intense level than normal people. What a shock! I'm ABnormal! What it means is that rich, smokey or peaty scotches overwhelm my tastebuds. Yes, I am a scotch wuss.

That's not to say I dislike the Highland Park 12. I can still appreciate it, but the power of this scotch pushes me and my delicate, wussy tastebuds to the limit. A DeLorean with an upgraded stereo, an amp and subwoofer that can't be turned off.

LCBO sale: $55
43% (86 proof)


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Anonymous Dan said...

We had the Highland Park 12 at our recent HP / Orkney Vertical. It can be tough, especially with a new bottle. Other reviewers have commented that they didn't like it at all at first and had to give the bottle time to open up after opening.

I found both the nose and the palate somewhat closed and uninspiring, especially when compared to the HP 18 (which isn't as peaty, but is $150) or the HP 21 (way out of my price range!). At some point I'm going to have to give the HP 12 another shot, but that isn't likely to happen for a while. The Scapa 16 (also from Orkney) is very nice - mellow, a bit briny, but no peat or smoke - but is $120 for a 40% ABV whisky!

There's a more detailed write up of the evening over on Dragons and Dragonflies.

9:11:00 AM

Blogger Martini said...

I'll definitely check out your review. I think I remember reading it, but don't remember the Scapa part. I will be sure to read that part more carefully. We seem to enjoy and dislike very similar things so I trust your opinions and reviews.

10:19:00 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

Martini: You remind me of Orson Welles in the Paul Masson commercial. You know so much more about this Whiskey than anyone I know!

11:03:00 PM

Blogger Martini said...

I'll be honest, I had to look that up on the Youtube. I love how simple and honest those commercials are. They're not forcing anything down your throat, or trying to trick you in any way. Not to mention slogans were truly witty. Wow, I feel like I'm 75 years old - "they don't make stuff the way they used to!"

4:41:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ugh, yuk. It's giving me shivers just reading this! Pass the SoCo please. I'll have that instead.

7:37:00 AM

Blogger Martini said...

Oh yeah! Huge fan of the Southern Comfort. Always have a bottle on hand. Always.

8:35:00 PM


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