I drank a bottle of Highland Park 3 or 4 years ago. It was either a 15 or 18 year old malt. I remember it being awesome. I wasn't expecting much from a scotch with a name that sounds like one of those crappy housing developments. But that bottle blew me away. I'm pretty sure it was one of my "quitting" scotches. That great experience lead me to purchase the Highland Park 12 year old whose retail price was much friendlier. The price was friendly but the drink was most definitely not.
So I made a mental note and avoided the Highland Parks for the last three years. But the mind grows fuzzy and I can't really recall why I didn't like that 12 year old. But I was still really sure about liking the 15 year old. So I decided to give the 12 year old another shot if only to give it a proper recording on this blog.
The smell of this drink is a clear warning that troubled waters lie ahead. Strong, medicinal, unforgiving. But troubling aromas have disguised rewarding drinks before. So, down she goes. The drink quickly flares to a strong alcohol bloom with that same medicinal tone chasing all the way down. That taste lingers while a chalky aftertaste grows as the medicine fades. It's a bold experience. I wouldn't say it's terrible just incredibly challenging to appreciate. It's very different from my favoured highland and speysides but doesn't have the peat of the Islay malts. Despite its name I'd describe it as more of a lowland malt with the muddled, iodine tasting.
So, the question is: Would I buy this bottle again? I'd say probably not. I recognize that I'm being challenged but a challenge just isn't what I'm looking for in a scotch. I may be self-medicating but I don't want my drink of choice to actually taste like medicine. This is a scotch for a true aficionado. Not me.
Challenge someone else. 3 shots.