Highland Park 12 Year Review

Written by Christopher Menning | July 18, 2021

Highland Park 12 year whisky

Highland Park Whisky Bio

Highland park 12 year

Tasting Notes


Light amber with medium viscosity.


Notes of sweet orange blossom, orange zest, and rose. soft Peat aroma in the background, giving a gentle image of a bed of seaweed.


Floral heathery notes with that slight smoke before sticky fruit cake finishes off.

Highland Park 12, located on the northernmost Scottish isle of Orkney, is proud of its heritage. The rebranding they undertook in recent years to highlight this has been met with great response, and personally I love the update. 

Viking Honour is the name bestowed upon their award-winning, entry-level whisky. The Nordic Viking settlers took parts of Scotland many centuries ago, yet some of their influence remains today. 

Their founder Magnus Eunson, a descendent of the early Viking settlers, started a distillery back in the 18th century. In 1798 the operation was founded properly by David Robertson; it would have operated illegally for some time until the 1826 exercise act. 

Nowadays the Whisky brand is revered worldwide by Scotch enthusiasts and the expert community. Novices of the whisky game prefer some of their vintage releases or older expressions. Although the younger bottles are credited for being balanced despite their unique taste. 

I use the 12 year as a great starter dram for those who want to enter the realm of Scotch drinking even before their Speyside cousins. 

Highland Park is still one of the few distilleries left to carry on the tradition of floor malting. 

The extremely labor-intensive process where barley is spread across a floor and regularly hand-turned is to create even germination and accounts for 20% of their malt. 

It is then kilned with Orkney peat, famous for its heathery peat steeped with the salt spray of the North Sea. The peat here is unique compared to Islay and the mainland. 

There is a distinct lack of trees on the island giving the peat the full force of the salty winds. The 12 year was their first expression released and is comprised of 25% first fill American oak sherry casks. Since 2004, Highland Park decided to add an interesting feature to its production process. 

Every cask, whether made for American or European oak, is constructed in Spain and loaned out to be filled with sherry for 2 years. Before being used on the isle.


Our Spirit score 


For the price Highland Park 12 delivers a complex and pleasant scotch, perfect for novices and newcomers alike. it sets the bar for ticking all the boxes and we think it’s a staple for any home bar. With the price set at £29.95 a bottle, this whisky is a bargain and a core product for your back bar. I would personally just drink the dram by itself but this will also work perfectly in a classic cocktail such as an Old Fashioned or a scotch Manhattan cocktail recipe.

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