“It’s an older bottle, but it checks out.”

It’s no secret. I like old things, and sometimes, I fear change. This can clearly be seen by how tightly I hold onto my love of the Original Trilogy of Star Wars. That doesn’t mean I don’t love the recent release of The Force Awakens (we won’t mention the pre-quels), but I still connect more with the originals. In my free time (what is that?) I can spend hours walking around antique shops looking for old and nostalgic gems. So, when I get the chance to get my hands on an older bottle of one of my favorite whiskies, I jump on it. Thanks to my buddy Jarrod aka @FL_ScotchLover for sending this older style Highland Park 12yr over. This not only offered a great way to introduce the First Order Stormtrooper into my pictures, but a great opportunity to do a side-by-side comparison of the old vs new.

As can be seen, the older bottle is a bit darker. I originally thought that was from the thicker bottle, but once I poured a dram of both, I could see that it is in fact darker. Also easily noticeable just on the pour, the stronger sherry influence in the older bottle. The nose really jumped out of the glass, and this carried through on the first taste. The older 12yr was deeper and more flavorful than it’s updated version. Side by side, the new 12yr almost seemed bland and dull. Now don’t get me wrong, Highland Park holds a special place in my heart and I would gladly accept a dram from either. But, just like Star Wars, if I was given a choice between the old or new, I would chose the old. But both are a great dram. A nice mix of smoke and sherry that will make for a perfect grilling scotch or a nice gateway whisky into the Highland Park lineup.

That being said, the designer and photographer in me loves the style of the new bottle much more. The embossed logo on the bottle, and the smaller label really make the bottle stand out and lets light shine through beautifully. Here is a quick read on it and more about Andy Bowman, the designer of both bottles.

Old vs New
Old vs New
A great grilling scotch
A great grilling scotch

4 thoughts on “Highland Park 12yr Old vs New

  1. Thank-you for including the link to the description of the new packaging. That was fascinating! I love the “new” packaging. Having just discovered the amazing world of single malt Scotch in 2009, it is really all I know of Highland Park. It is so interesting that there is a difference in the Scotch itself. Not surprising as one would expect a natural product to have variations. This leads to a topic of discussion for a future blog post, i.e. how important is it for very popular expressions to remain consistent over the years. It seems paramount for some distilleries to make some of their expressions look and taste the same all the time, but of course the modern trend is for craft spirits where variations are a welcome sign that you have a unique, one of a kind liquid in your possession. I think they both have their place, because not everyone who loves Scotch wants it to taste different every time they open a bottle. Anyways, topics like this are one of the many reasons why I love not only drinking Scotch, but reading about it, researching it, discussing it and photographing it! But what I love most of all is the connection it gives me to other Scotch Lovers. That is the best part. Thanks for this great post!

    1. Whisky and the stories and history behind it makes it wonderful. But having a community of people to share it with, even virtually makes it amazing. Thank you so much.

  2. Love the break down.

    So what I’m gathering is, if Highland park bottled their older scotch in the new bottle, you’ll be head over heels in love?

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