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  1. #11
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    Re: Top Shelf Scotch - Highland Park 18 VS 15?

    I have had the 15 and it is (by design) drier and smokier than the 12 or the 18. All of HP is lightly peated but there is so much heather in the peat that it comes across very gentle and sweet. Nothing like the Islays.

    The 15 is what I would call a narrow profile (others might say "one dimensional"). If you like the flavor of heather honey with a tinge of smoke, it is a winner. If you like a more complex profile then either the 12 or the 18 are solid choices. Both have the smoky honey but are also more floral and fruity. Both are very good IMO and worth what they cost. The 12 in particular is a usually a great value at around $40.
    Life's too short, and there's too much good whiskey within reach.

  2. #12
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    Re: Top Shelf Scotch - Highland Park 18 VS 15?

    Thanks Brisko.

    I plan to hunt down and capture a bottle of the 12 sometime later this week, if the opportunity aligns with the moon and the stars, as I hope it will.
    He made himself another drink and thought how much better the Perrier was than anything else you could put in whisky... Hemingway

  3. #13
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    Top Shelf Scotch - Highland Park 18 VS 15?

    I'm eager to hear a contrary opinion, but I can't think of a whisky distillery where I wouldn't recommend starting with a "middle" option before the older.

    Macallan? Maybe, but that's not as direct a comparison. Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Bruichladdich, HP, Farclas, Fiddich, Glendronach, Aberlour, etc etc, I would recommend starting with the 10, 12, 15, 16 releases before the 17, 18, 21 releases.

  4. #14
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    Top Shelf Scotch - Highland Park 18 VS 15?

    Have not had the 15 yet but have had the 12 & 18 - will likely pick up a bottle of the 15 and try it out as I just had the 18 last night.

    HP is more highly peated than most people realize: 35-40 PPM from what I remember. I'm under the impression that it doesn't taste like Islay peated malts due to the difference in the organic makeup of the Orcadian peat.
    Last edited by ChainWhip; 04-30-2013 at 08:22.
    ¡Geaux Tigers! - ¡Visca el Barça!

    "Really though, my hands are sore. The tool was doing it's thing with a flex hose." -Barrel_Proof

  5. #15
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    Re: Top Shelf Scotch - Highland Park 18 VS 15?

    The Whisky Advocate recently had the following posted on their blog, from Lew Bryson's recent trip across the pond, discussing the maltings and phenol levels of Highland Park:

    "Highland Park does floor malting of about 20% of its malt, and smokes it all with Orkney peat to between 35 and 50 ppm of phenols. The local peat is unique, and densely layered with heather. We went out to the peat cuttings the following day, and could see heather roots right down to the 5,000 year level. The other 80% of the malt is unpeated and is bought in. The 80/20 blend is the same in all mashing, and yields the familiarly gentle peat character of Highland Park, with a phenol level of about 2 ppm in the spirit."

    Also, It should be noted that the 15 year expression is the one used in the Thor and Loki bottlings from Highland Park. I don't claim to understand the significance of this, but seems to be worth noting, maybe a indication of what they think their best juice is. Or maybe it's what they know they can market the best.


  6. #16
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    Top Shelf Scotch - Highland Park 18 VS 15?

    Thanks for the clarification wryguy - didn't know they also used unpeated malt for 80% of the Mashbill.
    ¡Geaux Tigers! - ¡Visca el Barça!

    "Really though, my hands are sore. The tool was doing it's thing with a flex hose." -Barrel_Proof

  7. #17
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    Re: Top Shelf Scotch - Highland Park 18 VS 15?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChainWhip View Post
    Thanks for the clarification wryguy - didn't know they also used unpeated malt for 80% of the Mashbill.
    So, does HP have a very heavy peat flavor or not? I'm confused now.

    I'm not crazy about a scotch with a lot of heavy peat in it. That why I like J&B, Scapa, Balvenie... not much peat in those at all.
    He made himself another drink and thought how much better the Perrier was than anything else you could put in whisky... Hemingway

  8. #18
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    Re: Top Shelf Scotch - Highland Park 18 VS 15?

    HP is not a heavily peated malt by the standards of those whiskies who hang their hat on such things. It does have some smoke and earthiness as part of the profile, but it is much more rounded and integrated than those whiskies you're most likely thinking of. It is a northern highland malt, and a benchmark one at that. You should definitely enjoy a glass and find out how it suits you. Standard boilerplate answer, I know. But everyone with an affinity for malt should definitely try HP.

  9. #19
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    Re: Top Shelf Scotch - Highland Park 18 VS 15?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alden View Post
    So, does HP have a very heavy peat flavor or not? I'm confused now.

    I'm not crazy about a scotch with a lot of heavy peat in it. That why I like J&B, Scapa, Balvenie... not much peat in those at all.
    It's more of a heathery smokiness. I don't think you'll find it offensive.
    Life's too short, and there's too much good whiskey within reach.

  10. #20
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    Re: Top Shelf Scotch - Highland Park 18 VS 15?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alden View Post
    So, does HP have a very heavy peat flavor or not? I'm confused now.

    I'm not crazy about a scotch with a lot of heavy peat in it. That why I like J&B, Scapa, Balvenie... not much peat in those at all.
    Alden, to my palate HP is not really very peated at all, and it is not one of the single malts that comes to mind when I am looking for peat.

    While by no means exhaustive, or entirely accurate, the following link lists some heavily peated single malts, with relative phenol levels in ppm, or parts per million, the unit used to indicate peatiness of the whisky, or something. Note that all on this list come in at well over 20 ppm, which is ten times more peated than the HP.

    http://www.squidoo.com/smokey-scotch

 

 

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