Highland Park 15
When I was still a Scotch newbie, I went shopping at a local liquor store and stood before their Scotch selection, scared and confused. The owner saw me and took pity. He pulled out a dusty copy of Michael Jackson's whisky guide to loan to me, which I read cover to cover. I was impressed with the reviews of Highland Park (the "great all-rounder"), so on my next trip I confidently strode to the whisky shelves and bought a bottle of the 12-year-old. I fell in love. On my next trip, I bought the 15-year-old and fell in love again.
Highland Park is distilled on one of the Orkney islands, north of the Scottish mainland (making it the northern-most distillery). Compared to the benchmark 12-year-old, the 15 offers less smoke and peat (though both still present) but is sweeter and richer. The nose presents strong floral notes and some background smoke. The palate is rich (and as the bottles suggests, "luxurious") with heather, flowers, and honey. A decent sherry influence rounds out the whisky, and the finish is nice but not as long or dry as the 12. 90 points (A-).
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