Excerpt: What happened to good old HP 18? It’s still a very good drop, but I think it’s lost its former polish. And maestria. And some younger expressions are way better, I think, which is good for our purses.
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This is an 18 year old release from Highland Park.
Sweet cream and brown sugar with a good dash of grapes and some darker fruit like date fruit. Theres a faint hint of smoke that lingers and blends quite nicely.
Sweet cream and custard. Disappointingly thin mouth feel but its easygoing due to the proof. Lots more grape here with a bit of strawberry jam. The smoke really charges in though and makes a strong showing. Not in a Ardbeg/Laphroaig/Laga kind of way, but a simple campfire and ash smoke that just is. It doesn't dominate or cover up and of the sweets and fruits. I quite like how well it balances and I think this is a strong showing on Highland Parks part - its complex and all of the players are in it for the team. Nothing is clobbering another flavor to be the top dog.
Medium and smokier than the palate. Its not hot and the cream and fruits reappear to gently guide it out to sea.
I like it a good deal. It might have broached closer to an 8 for me if the mouth feel wasn't so thin and the proof was a bit higher, but with all of that in stride - I'd take another glass again. I haven't tried the 15 before, nor any of the special or LE offerings but the 18 has really focused my opinion back on Highland Park.
Our in house critic rates spirits on a scale of 0-10 (10 best) and is aggregated the same as external sources