Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky 12 Years Old (Marks & Spencer)

40% ABV, £29 for 70cl

Score: 76/100

What they say:

This warming, robust highland single malt is made using time honoured, traditional methods that haven’t changed for over 140 years. The rugged mountainous highlands of Scotland are steeped in history. The cool clear waters and beautiful glens provide the ideal setting for one of the area’s most important industries: The distillation of Single Malt Whisky.

It’s lingering finish encapsulates all the history of the region, with sweet honey notes that makes every sip memorable.

What I say:

Part 2 of the M&S mini-regional/vertical the Highland 12 year old. There was a possibility of peaty-ness in this dram as specifically the Highland region includes the Island distilleries (barring Islay) and together these sub-regions do possess a few distilleries that use a little to quite a lot of peat in their whisky. I tried to guess where this may have come from and was slightly surprised by my deduced answer…

Colour:

Full gold (caramel is stated on the ingredients)

Nose:

Vaporous alcohol (sweet), floral violets, cocoa butter and hints of lemon citrus (no peat)

Taste:

Warming with a slight cinnamon and black pepper prickle, brown sugar and honeyed sweetness, vanilla custard and creamed coconut

Finish:

Short honeyed vanilla

Would I buy it again:

Probably not, this was a little disappointing in its subtlely, one-dimensionality and lack of anything much to write home about going on in the glass. I was a little stumped with this at first but after spreading a little over my hands to get really into the subtleties of the nose I was instantly transported to Dalwhinnie distillery with waves of cocoa butter and coconut. If this is Dalwhinnie, then you can see why they wait 15 years to bottle their OB as at 12 it is a little lost in the wilderness. Innoffensive but frankly a poor comparison after the joy of the M&S Speyside 12 year old.