Highland Park 15

HP 15 1

Being distracted from doing that large projects you want to start by the small stuff you also want to do is an odd concept. Like, you’re still productive, yet you’re not at the same time.

For instance, as I’ve tried to hint/blather about a Tomatin 8 multi-review that I’ve gathered components for. And don’t worry, by Summer, I should eventually start trying them out. Yet I keep getting distracted by other whisky. #firstworldproblems.

But why, oh why, do we care did I not start, I hear you ask?

Oh, you know, went out to the pub, sat down, and saw they had a good rum and Scotch selection, so I swapped out on review for another. And this review is on the next level malts list, so, you know, it’s a good idea to get it done… right? So I can pretend like I know what I’m saying act legitimate?

Quick note: Based on the glass, this was really hard to review. I’m not doubting my score or nose notes, I’m just saying, this was hard mode without a Glencairn.

Anyway, instead of beginning the Tomatin Royal Rumble, I bring to you today a review for Highland Park 15, or as /u/texacer[1] calls it, “The One you can Skip”. However that list is there for a reason, and I’m finishing it, because… well, why are mountains there? Because of tectonic plates crashing together, fault lines grinding together, magma pushing up, extinct volcanoes, or erosion?

No, so we can climb them. Or all that other stuff. Probably all that other stuff. Most likely.

Moving on…

HP 15 2

Highland Park 15 follows Highland Parks methods, or “Five Keystones”. These include Hand Turning the malt, Aromatic Peat, Cool Maturation, Mostly using Sherry Oak Casks, and Harmonization. As such, based on the above, we can see why Highland Park typically has that “little bit of everything” taste to it.

But enough jibber jabber, let’s get to the booze!

Price: N/A in Ontario

Region: Island

Abv: 43%

Colour: Pilsner

Nose: Acid, earth, sweet peat, mellow apple, light fall spices, clover honey, pear

Like I said above (and shown in the picture), the glass was not helping, however I used some tricks to intensify the amount of whisky getting into my nose. This is similar to the 12 year, yet a lot more mellow. It’s calmed down as it gets older, matured into a respectable member of society. Like John Wayne Gacy did.

Wait, maybe not the best analogy… Moving on…

Taste: Sweet cumin, ginger, tomato, orange rind, canned pear, pepper, olive oil, apple

That tomato acid taste is very unique to Highland Park. I usually assume I’m going insane whenever I smell it, which is probably a sure bet, however it still weirds me out.

More earthiness on this one, yet again, reminiscent of the 12 year old.

Finish: Earth, cinnamon, smoke, currant, pepper

Simple, general “This hear is Scotch” finish to it, as expected. The sherry element only comes into play at the end I find, save for some spices in the taste.


Conclusion: Skip this one and just buy the 12 year. I’m not saying it’s bad or the same as the 12 year. This is more mellow, has a slight edge in balance. Yet is it worth spending an extra $20-$30 on? Not for me.

If I’m to review this one ignoring the 12 year, I’d say that it’s the whisky that does everything to let you try it all out. There’s a sherry influence (though minor), it’s peated (though minor), there’s that earthy quality, and there’s a good mouthfeel and tastes of fruit. Have it with some cheese.


P.S. The burger I had was amazing, and when they said it was spicy, they didn’t mess around. Burnt my mouth to heck (review done before burger). They have other, great, not spicy, tasty food, so check out the Village Idiot Pub[4] in Toronto some time, across from the AGO, which was also great, as it’s currently having the Great Upheaval exhibit from the Guggenheim. Both really interesting. Well priced at the pub too, so it compliments a day of walking around the Gallery nicely. Great fries as well.

Scotch review #145, Island review #14, Whisky Network review #191

1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #112


2 thoughts on “Highland Park 15

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