Tag Archives: whiskey

Highland Park 12 year, 43%ABV, Island Single Malt

this next one is one of the most interesting and complex scotches I’ve had to date. Highland Park 12 is quite polarizing to its tasters as well. When I first go into scotch, I began following and reading the subreddit r/scotch. The community is very inviting, quite helpful, and an excellent repository for reviews and future scotch selection suggestions. However, they do not agree as to whether this scotch is great. Some love it, some hate it. It is a poor expression if you like Islay, it is a poor expression if you like Highland. However, I find the hybrid to be quite interesting. It composes both worlds nicely yet leaves you wanting for more from either side.

Highland Park 12 Year, 43%ABV, Highland Single Malt, Orkney Islands $50 USD Highland Park 12

Color: Amber with hues of gold in the sunlight.

Nose: At first is a light smokiness like off clothes worn in an evening next to a campfire. Light and it comes and goes as the nose evolves. Next is an overwhelming honey/nectar/sweet smell that is off-putting at first until the smoke comes back to play. They work well together, but I’m not at all sure I like the sweet by itself. I only get the malt notes with the tail of the honey wave prior to smoke returning.

Palate: This one really coats your tongue and you get a light warmth in your whole mouth before the flavors show up. Sweet honeyed smoke and a waft of grasses blossom as you swallow and then the peppery warmth trails behind the whisky as you swallow.

Finish: It lingers for a long time, pleasantly. I drank it neat and it was almost hot with alcohol at the very split second beginning, but the flavors of sweet smoke caught fire and warmed all the way to my stomach. A good all-round dram.

Overall: A very drinkable, middle-of-the-road scotch. I can see why it polarizes r/scotch so. It is neither an amazing islay, nor an amazing highland, but it is quite drinkable and unoffensive to the palate. As I get into the scotch world, I am finding more and more that I simply prefer big, bold Islay tastes. Highland Park ’12 touches that note, but does not play it very long.


Aberlour 12 Double Cask Matured, 43% ABV, Speyside Single Malt

Things were beginning to heat up on my trek to taste more of the world of single malts. After tackling my first bottle of Speyburn 10, the recommendations were flying. Try this Isaly, it will blow your mind! Try this Highland scotch, it’s the best out there!

For the uninitiated, here is a quick/dirty run-down of the major players in the scotch flavor profile (not meant to be very thorough, just a side-note and more info here –>http://www.scotlandwhisky.com/about/single-malt-scotch-whiskyregions ):

  • Islay: Heavily peated, smoked. Aggressive.
  • Highland: Dryer, sweeter, fruits, a touch complex
  • Speyside: Mellow, sweet, I find them to be a touch floral
  • Lowlands: High malt, delicate, grassy

I found myself with a quick case of alcoholic’s ADD. I didn’t know which way to go, but I knew I had to get there quickly and with something completely different. With the mindset that scotch, compared to bourbons, was something that one sipped, savored, contemplated and enjoyed, I chose to go down a more delicate path to the Speyside. Best I could tell, Aberlour 12 was a good place to start and here’s my take:

Aberlour 12 Double Cask, 43% ABV, $45 USDImage

  • Color: burnt amber with slight ruby hue in direct sun
  • Nose: over ripened bananas, medicinal cherries, background of slightly charred oak, cinnamon and other woody spices round it out
  • Palate: Warm, soft (surprisingly) cherry cough syrup (in a good way) giving way to the over ripe sugary bananas then blossoming into the spicy and mellow smoked oak flavors at the back
  • Finish: Lightly warming and the above mentioned flavors really spark alive at the finish as you can smell them again. They evaporate into a pleasantly lingering roasted oak that is in no way overpowering. The mouth feel dissipates in an appropriate time between drinks just to give you enough time to forget what it tastes like and want to remember again.

Overall: This scotch was a kick in the soul shouting, “Wake up!” It’s utterly amazing that so many flavors and feelings can come from a single dram. Sure, it had 12 years to get there, but man oh man, what did I get myself into? The fruity playful nose was only hiding a very serious flavor of sherry, fruit (old), spices, and warmth. A staple for any collection and best enjoyed when there’s a slight nip in the air.


Speyburn 10, 43% ABV, Highland Single Malt Review

To get into scotches and whiskeys, I had one day just made the choice, “Hey, that’s something I’d like to try sometime.” I had a bottle of Aberlour 12 some time ago when I was younger and looking for something to give me a buzz. I drank it without enjoying it and having no idea how to taste it. What a waste! Since, I’ve been search for flavors. Big bold statements of craftsmanship, pride, and the feel and taste of the land a beverage was crafted. I went for the jugular and started with scotch. I purchased a lowly bottle of McClelland’s Islay Single Malt (no age statement), but it left me with a bleh taste and wanting more from this beverage that is revered by many around the world. I let the annals of the internet guide me a bit and hope to take you on that journey as well.

For my first review, I thought I’d dig into my notes and review the first Single Malt that I purchased with sincerity. What I mean by that is I really did some research on something a novice malt sipper like myself could really sink my palate into and not be missing a ton of subtle notes I simply was not ready for. The internet is awash with recommendations for much pricier beverages and much more niche flavor palates (high smoke, lots of floral, etc.). I was a bit overwhelmed. I needed something simple, easy to get tasting notes, and something that would serve as comparison for future malts to come.

After doing some quick research and some quick bank account checking, I came home with a bottle of Speyburn 10. It is presented interestingly enough in a cylindrical tin package with a lid to house the bottle. A simple cork top holds the spirit in a clear bottle with a simple label.

Speyburn 10, 43% ABV, Highland, $25 USD    Speyburn-10

  • Color: light yellow tan, burnished wheat gold
  • Nose: The packaging says it’s supposed to have a lemon character, but all I can really say is clean, crisp, hint of peat smoke, and cheeky. The nose on this one is there, then it goes away quickly.
  • Palate: Light, unobtrusive, no coating, thin (in a good way), actuallya kind of refreshing citrus that drifts away on a gentle breeze leaving behind the light peat flavor. Enjoyable.
  • Finish: This one does not linger and typically I find that to be a bad thing, but for the summer season and for the expectations, the flavor goes away politely and stoically. The peat smoke lingers for a bit, the warming in your throat is subtle, but there, and the clean citrus overtone returns to give this dram a well-rounded presentation.

Overall: Excellent value and great drink-ability. Good everyday dram for you and your wallet.

Welcome to Whiskey Times!

Hey everyone! Welcome to my inaugural post for this blog. I’ve taken to enjoying whiskey over the past year or so and have made it a bit of a passion much to the chagrin of my wife and my wallet. Here you can expect some very basic reviews of all things whiskey (or whisky) from scotch to bourbon. I may even delve into other spirits, liver willing.

First, a bit about myself. I’m 33 years old and work in an intensive care unit as a registered nurse. I’m married to a beautiful woman who puts up with my shenanigans and lets me be me. I have a dog, Winston, who is my partner in crime. I play a disproportionate amount of video games but still enjoy getting a jog in every now and then.

So there it is. Pithy. Please bear with me as I discover my style for how this goes. I am really just writing it for myself, but if it helps one person make a more informed decision, inspires one discussion, or even helps me remember why I didn’t like “x” bottle, then I’ve accomplished my goal.

Enjoy a good dram with me as we get this show on the road.

Laphroaig quarter cask