This bottle was bought to South Africa by the Checkers Private Barrel Company and what makes it different from the regular Highland Park 12 year old is that this particular single malt was matured in bourbon casks as opposed to the usual sherry casks. While I have yet to try the regular 12 year old, I think it would be interesting to do a comparison.
I’ll end the suspense and state up front that this whisky is not too shabby at all. It smells amazing and your olfactory nerve will be delighted to make its acquaintance. There is definitely a hint of citrus when you take a whiff and like a lot of the good whiskies, it really does make you want to taste it as soon as you smell it.
Thankfully, the taste does not disappoint and there is a touch of smokiness to the whisky. While it’s not very smooth, it is still a decent dram. The addition of some water does smooth it out a touch but without losing too much of flavor. All in all this deserves a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
On the nose, there is a nougaty, sweet roundness to it, which they affectionately call “heather-honey”, and I understand why.
Once you swirl some of the spirit around your mouth, you get a spicy hit with a little smoke, but the heather-honey is still there, rounding out the flavour. With a little water added, I got some more sweetness coming through, as well as some antiseptic peaty notes.
This is definitely one of my favourites.
I’m quite curious to see if there is any difference between this version and the standard version, because Kev tells me they might use bourbon casks for this version that they don’t usually. I’ll have to get a bottle to find out, won’t I?