Highland Park 12

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$$ — 43% ABV — 12 years

The second-most northerly archipelago in Scotland, Orkney is home to two distilleries: Scapa and the (very) slightly more northward Highland Park. Despite being such close neighbors in such a remote part of the world, these whiskies are immensely distinct from each other.

The biggest difference comes from the fact that while Scapa uses ex-bourbon barrels, Highland Park ages its whisky only in ex-sherry barrels. This is a wood that many distilleries — these days at least — use sparingly, mostly due to the pricetag. Highland Park and Macallan are the main two names that go full Sherry, but while Macallan carries a flavor that's downright Stevie Wonder funky, Highland Park is as silky as Norah Jones.

It's not overtly anything — peaty, fruity, salty, herbal — which is perhaps why Highland Park attracts so many fans. It offers a little bit of everything, garnering it a great deal of complexity without feeling too complicated. It's an easy whisky to appreciate, and for the price people are appreciating it all the more.

Highland Park is located in Kirkwall, Orkney in the Scottish North Sea. Established in 1798 by Magnus Eunson, it is now owned by the Edrington Group.

Flavor Notes

Sea Salt / Vanilla / Thyme / Pear / Peat Smoke / Heather

Sea Salt / Vanilla / Thyme / Pear / Peat Smoke / Heather