Booze Review

Whisky Review – Highland Park 18

About two weeks ago, I decided that I would treat myself, and pick up a new bottle of Single Malt Scotch. Since I’ve been spending alot of time in Islay, I thought I would branch out and try something from Northern Scotland. After contemplating the whisky selections at Wine Legend in Cherry Hill, NJ, I settled on the Highland Park 18 because (a) it was “reasonably” priced, and (b) it is generally well reviewed (Laphroiag 18 and Yamazaki 18 were also in the running).

  • Color: Amber.
  • Aroma: Maple syrup. Cinnamon. Raisins. Whiffs of smoke and sweet sherry.
  • Taste: Starts off sweet and slightly salty. Some spiciness in the middle (think spicy cinnamon). Mild licorice aftertaste which lingers for quite awhile.

When I first opened this bottle, I was somewhat disappointed, because I was expecting to be blown away by this whisky. After reading so much about it, my expectations were incredibly high (Spirit Journal founder F. Paul Pacult proclaimed this whisky “The Best Spirit in the World” in 2005 and 2009).

Thankfully, I didn’t give up on this whisky. My biggest mistake was not putting enough of it in the glass. Unlike the Islay whiskies that I usually drink, the Highland Park 18 is much more subtle. It doesn’t overpower you with smokiness, and yet it still manages to be very rich and flavorful. Although it has an ABV of 43%, it has very little of that alcohol burn. The Highland Park 18 is an incredibly smooth and complex whisky which I am learning to appreciate more and more every time I drink it. I highly recommend that you give this one a try. You won’t be disappointed.

5 replies »

  1. Whew, I was nervous for a bit there, thought I’d sent a bad recommend your way. Glad ye enjoyed it in the end, though out of your three picks there’s nary a bad one (though the Laphroaig 18 was very different to what I expected. The peat and medicinal had mellowed massively– I have noticed old Laphroaig bottlings are very rare, I do wonder if that’s because, whilst they are very nice, the distinctive Laphroaig style does not survive well over the years).

    Anyways, very interesting to see your take on this one, and if ye ever pick up either of the other two it would be interesting to compare notes.



  2. Have no fear, the Highland Park definitely won me over. It’s fantastic!

    I’ve had the Laphroaig 18 and the Yamazaki 18 at three SMSWA whisky events, but I’ve never had it my possession for long enough to take some notes on it. I hope to eventually getting around to buying a bottle of each.



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