Whisky Showdown! Highland Park 18 vs. Glenfiddich 18

Time for another whisky showdown folks! Today, a couple of well known 18 year olds go head to head. We have the Highland Park 18, highly recommended in a previous blog entry, against another one of my preferred whiskies, the Glenfiddich 18.

Let’s get started. Both these whiskies are bottled at 43% abv. The first impression on both is the warm, goldish hue. The Glenfiddich is a shade darker and looks more rich, but both are substantially golden in colour. The difference in shading becomes apparent only when the whiskies are held side by side.

The legs on the Glenfiddich run thin but slow. The Highland Park’s run a bit thicker and just as slow. Again, the difference is slight as the only way to tell is to actually hold them up side by side.

Both are sweet on the nose, bringing their floral and fruity fragrances without restraint. The Glenfiddich stands out for its expressions of oak and chocolate. The Highland Park sets itself apart with nuts and spice.

On the palate, the Highland Park’s fruits continue to make their mark, but hazel and milk chocolate hints lead into some oak and cinnamon. The Glenfiddich starts more sour, then sweet. The fruits are apparent again after the initial confusion caused by the fruity nose and the sour first taste. Its chewy texture sets it apart from the Highland Park, but oak and chocolate bring these two whiskies together. The Highland Park is almost watery compared to the Glenfiddich.

The Highland Park finishes long and sweet. Memories of the hazel and cinnamon linger until the oak and a honey glaze take it to the close. The Highland Park adds another layer of complexity, throwing in smoke and light peat to cleverly finish off the experience. The finish on the Glenfiddich is not as long as the Highland Park, but only by a hair. It is not as complex, leaving a distinct sweetness, reminding me again of the fruits on the nose and palate, but also of honey and milk.

These are both fine whiskies making for smooth and easy drinking. I’ll give the Highland Park the edge on this one, not because the Glenfiddich is not a satisfying whisky. This is more a testament to the Highland Park 18 being a more complex animal. The Glenfiddich 18 is a wonderful whisky and a worthy challenger to the Highland Park 18.

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