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Highland Park Aged 12 years - All the way from the Orkney Islands
Highland Park 12 year old Single Malt Whisky (to give it its full name) is made in Kirkwall on the Orkney Islands. The history of these islands go back some five and a half thousand years although the malt is a little bit more up to date with the establishment of the distillery in 1798. Highland Park is made today, as it has been since 1798. Highland Park believe that this is the reason that they have a global respect for their brand and why they picked up the accolade of "The Best Spirit in the World" in 2009.
Not your usual run of the mill whisky bottle, the Highland Park is squatter and has a bigger opening for poring which I think is better than the narrow necks you get on some whisky bottles. The bottle is sealed with the same type of foil covering that you would find on a champagne bottle which is easy to peel off.
This reveals a black topped cork stopper which is inlaid with the highland motif that you will also find embossed on the front of the bottle. I really like the dull thud noise that the cork makes when you pull it out of the bottle. Very reminiscent of the wild west and pulling corks out of whisky bottles with your teeth. However don't try it with this one as the top is made of hard plastic. (Not that I ever have mmmmmm...)
Also embossed on the bottle is "distilled Kirkwall Orkney" to the back of the bottle and each bottle has a guarantee on the label stating that "we guarantee this whisky is made solely from the finest home grown malt".
The size of the bottle allows for 70 CL of whisky which is at 40% vol. This equates to 28 standard units of alcohol in a bottle of this size. I find the bottle easy to hold and easy to pour although persons with smaller hands may find this more difficult.
The whisky is a golden brown in colour and has the standard whisky smell when you pour it out. I don't personally smell anything different that a whisky however to taste it has a distinctive smokiness that I find a bit harsh although I have friends that like this about the whisky. Mixed with water I find the whisky sweeter than others but I wouldn't go as far to say that it was sweet.
I am unsure if it's because I know it's made of malt that I can taste malt or not but I do think there is a malty taste that can linger after swallowing. Highland Park themselves state you may be able to taste a fruity aftertaste but to date I have not tasted this and this could easily be my pallet rather than it not being there.
A bottle of the above can cost you anywhere between £22 and £25 dependent on where you do your shopping for whisky, in my experience shopping on line is not a good idea for whisky its just more convenient. However best time to hunt out a malt (especially one you haven't tried) is in January. Some of the big supermarkets have been known to slash prices for these if they haven't sold well over the festive period.
This is touted as one of the best malt whisky's produced in the world. I do like the taste and the individuality of the bottle warms me to the product however the taste - to me - is not that dissimilar to other malts around this age bracket. I am not able ot dintinguish the fruit that the literature tells you can be taste and this is one malt I prefer to take with water. (and ice of course)
Located on the Orkney Islands, one of the northern most parts of Scotland, is the Highland Park distillery. Founded on this remote and windswept island in 1798, the distillery has, for more than two centuries produced a full flavoured, single malt scottis