Highland Park 12 year Single Malt
The Scotch Noob (scotchnoob.com) claims to be for the newbie scotch drinkers. I, however, am far more certified in that regard and that's hardly a compliment.
Months back, when I wanted to branch out, I began taking recommendations. Trying smokier and peatier scotches was a bit frightening, but it's what everyone seems to love. My first peated scotch was an Ardbeg, a deadly thing that nearly destroyed me. I still sweat nervously thinking about it. A number of people suggested Highland Park 12 as the perfect way to ease into it. A sale at the LCBO was my green light and I picked up a 750ml bottle for $55.
Despite huge recommendations and whisky guru Jim Murray declaring it "The perfect all-rounder..." I had a tough time with this one. The nose was fine. A bit of an off-putting yet intriguing old cabin smell, moderately smoky, and after some careful consideration a bit of caramel, but not sweet.
On my tongue was smooth, rich, medium smoke, a bit woody. I almost felt like I was camping. It was pushing my limits - a bit too strong for me and not very complex.
The finish was similar. Warm and smokey. Images flashed through my mind of sitting in a rustic, patched chair in a cabin, dying most likely. As the finish finished the imagery changed to the deck of the cabin, near the water. I was still alive. A bit salty and dry. The scotch, not me.
The problem is I happen to be a supertaster. You can look it up. In a nutshell, I experience flavour at a much more intense level than normal people. What a shock! I'm ABnormal! What it means is that rich, smokey or peaty scotches overwhelm my tastebuds. Yes, I am a scotch wuss.
That's not to say I dislike the Highland Park 12. I can still appreciate it, but the power of this scotch pushes me and my delicate, wussy tastebuds to the limit. A DeLorean with an upgraded stereo, an amp and subwoofer that can't be turned off.
LCBO sale: $55
43% (86 proof)