While discontinuing several popular bottles in 2017, Highland Park has recast their image in Viking lore. The previously named Highland Park 12 Yr Old has been reborn as Viking Honour. The bottle has received a makeover, but this expression remains a core bottling for the company as it always was. With the effort to improve marketing across the industry in recent years, while not always improving the drink itself, we decided to put it to the test and see if Ye Olde Highland Park 12 still has the magic Odin the All Father bestowed upon it all those years ago in Orkney.
With Viking art on the bottle, a brand that has satisfied our members in the past, and a unique history as the northernmost distillery in Scotland, this 12 year expression proved to be a dependable pour. We also felt the need to brandish swords while drinking this, a feeling never felt before the Viking re-branding. Weird. The advertising references the unique peat comprised of heather plants, the unique weather, and the consistent aging temperatures, but perhaps the people of Orkney are the secret. While we love each Highland Park offering tried thus far, this was declared to be impressively delicious from nose to lingering finish, and by far the best value of the line. This bottle is worthy of the “Honour” bestowed upon it. And not just any honor. Viking Honor.
SWC Group Review
Nose – Earthy, damp moss, pineapple, coconut, grass, butter, slight dark fruits, vinyl
Taste – Honey, grilled pineapple, pepper, dark fruit, buttered biscuit, stonefruit, light smoke
Finish – Medium to long, melon rind, toffee, cocoa, char, stonefruit, dark chocolate, pungent peat
Comments – Perfectly balanced earthy, bitter but sweet, smoky. A great sipper, good mouthfeel, and a great finish that leaves us desiring more. We loved this one for its consistent excellence from start to finish. Unanimous agreement that this is one we all want to keep on our shelf. Reasonably priced as a bonus. Highland Park at its best.
SWC Rating –90 / 100
Today’s review is submitted by one of our members, Ben G.
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I recently picked up a bottle of this and it really hits the spot. The gentle peat with the sweetness and herbal notes, just awesome! The 18 is pretty great, but I’d rather have three bottles of this!
Their marketing approach is a bit of an oddball thing for me, though I am glad to hear that the whisky still holds up despite the gimmickry.