After claiming that Highland Park 12 Year bests the 18 Year in our recent review, it’s only fair to give the 18 its spot in the limelight. With Spirit Journal calling this the “best whisky in the world,” we were apprehensive whether this whisky would live up to the hype. While the 12 Year comes in at $65 Canadian, is there any reason to spend an additional $85 for the extra 6 years the 18 year offers?
Here’s what we thought:
The 18 year is remarkably fresh on the nose, with a nice balanced honey aroma. While many have labeled this whisky as “pale gold” or “natural,” it was much more of a dark amber in our glasses. There is a pleasant ginger oakiness on the palate, with a minerally waxy mouth feel. The whisky has no overpowering characterestics, with nothing sticking out – no highs or lows. This would pair well with an equally balanced cigar such as a Monte Cristo No. 4.
So what do others have to say? Here are some context-free random snippets from whisky gurus Michael Jackson and Jim Murray.
Nose: An empty honey jar which once held peaty embers. Heather-honey, fresh oak, sap, peat, smoky fragrance.
Palate: Lots of flavour development: nuts, honey, cinnamon, dryish ginger. Even sweeter than the 12 Years Old with peat on the back of the palate.
Finish: Spicy, very dry, oaky, smoky, hot.
Notes: If I smoked I would have a cigar with this one.
Hmm, I wonder if Michael Jackson would also have chosen a Monte Cristo No.4. All in all this is a great whisky, and in comparison to other brands’ 18 year offerings, it is a good value. However, in comparison to the 12 year, I have to stick by our earlier review — the 12 undoubtedly offers a better value.