Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Highland Park 12 Year Viking Honour Single Malt Scotch

- $60
- 86 Proof
- 12 Years
- Orkney

I've been continuing my foray into and exploration of peaty fruit in the Scotch world. I've learned that I absolutely love the combination of a peated Scotch with a wine finish, and lately I've been grabbing pretty much whatever I can get my hands one in an effort to try everything.

My buddy suggested that I give this Highland Park 12 year a try. According to him, it was a bit more subtle with both the peat and the wine finish. I was told it wasn't going to be nearly as smoky as an Islay Scotch, but that the Sherry cask influence really balances perfectly.  I am admittedly still a neophyte when it comes to Scotch. There's just so much to try. And I still feel like a neophyte when talking strictly about peated Scotches aged in wine barrels. But, I am learning what I like and I was eager to give another one a go.

While subtle, the sherry notes still dominated the nose. I got a lot of bright and dark fruits, like blackberry and blueberry. I also got a bright strawberry note as well. It had a light smokiness along with a light salinity. What stood out, though, was a distinct breadiness to it that was almost donut-like. The nose was soft, but it still had a lot going on and it smelled delicious.

As to the flavor, my buddy was right. The peat didn't hit me like an Islay. It was a light smokiness, and at times it seemed as though it could almost pass as unpeated.  Almost.  Accompanying that light smokiness, though, were those bright fruit notes I want out of the Sherry cask. I got raspberry and dried strawberry that really stood out.

Beyond those somewhat expected flavors, though, were some interesting and unexpected notes that I enjoyed. I got a certain citrus note, almost lemony, as well as a certain salinity that seemed to come with the peat.  It also had a certain sweet note that was kind of a honey-like note. That honey note seemed to lean towards that bread note at times, but it added a sweetness to this beyond the Sherry influence.

The finish was short-lived, as this whisky was relatively thin in texture. However, I did get some nice, warm dessert-like spices. I got baked, spiced pear on the finish along with cinnamon spice and a nice black pepper bite. I also got a sort of peach liqueur on the finish as well that was a pleasant surprise.

Overall, I do like a bit heavier peat, and I wish the texture wasn't so thin. I think there were some great and fun flavors here, but it all seemed a bit muted. A bolder version of this would be outstanding. This was good, just not as good as it could have been.

Grade: B

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