Binny's Mailbag: The Next Step
Im fairly new to the scotch world, having tried and really liked Glenmorangie and Glenrothes which I believe are considered lighter scotches. Ive read quite a bit about Highland Park so Im eager to try that next but Im wondering if that may be too strong for my taste just yet? Would I be better off sticking with something lighter or is there anything else you could recommend as a next step?
You're right on track with Highland Park. Their whiskies would be a good step forward. You'll find that the HP's are slightly fuller bodied, and in our opinion pack quite an impressive depth of flavor. Highland Park is lightly peated, so it doesn't come off so much as smoke, but more of a spiciness on the finish of the whisky. In the case of the Highland Park 12 year old, it is 90% sherry aged, 10% bourbon, so there is a great dark-fruit flavor balancing the baking spice character and the very gentle seaside/island profile.
Along the same lines of fuller, richer flavored whiskies, we would also recommend checking out Aberlour, a sherry finished highland malt, and also Old Pulteney. Pulteney is from the northeast corner of Scotland. The Old Pulteney 12 year old has a gentle "maritime" profile, and is a great value at under $40.
Hope this helps. Any others questions, let us know.