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Highland Park
An Introduction to Highland Park and its history


Having reviewed our last Information Pack, I am amazed by how much has been achieved in the last few years. From the launch of Highland Park Earl Magnus, the first in the trio of Orkney Inga Saga-inspired whiskies, to Thor, our most recent release, it feels that the distillery is truly hitting new heights.  

The continued success of our 5 Star-rated visitor centre has given the entire Highland Park team an exceptional sense of pride in our unique surroundings on Orkney. Our association with like-minded arbiters of great flavour, such as the Slow Food movement, have demonstrated our commitment to educating and broadening palates on an international scale.   

Fans of Highland Park come from all corners of the globe; our Inner Circle of committed Highland Park enthusiasts continues to grow and thrive.  They are also now part of a truly unique piece of artwork – the ultimate family photo- which will take pride of place at the distillery visitors centre, created from images of our Inner Circle friends becoming a permanent fixture within the distillery walls.

This pack, with an introduction from our Distillery Manager, Graham Manson, covers the production process, the history of the distillery, biographies of the key people behind the brand, information on how to taste Highland Park and a guide to all our core expressions, as well as some of the limited edition and vintage Highland Park releases.

If you require any further information on Highland Park, or have any suggestions, please contact Daryl Haldane, our Global Brand Advocate – dhaldane@edrington.co.uk

Thank you for your interest in Highland Park, the Best Spirit in the World.

Gerry Tosh, Global Marketing Manager, Highland Park

INTRODUCTION

There is honesty in Highland Park. It is a whisky, which exudes balance and complexity in every glass. It is not about fashion, trends or bandwagons. Highland Park is made today with the same enduring belief and integrity, to the same exacting standards, as it always has been.

The established attitude at Highland Park is one of custodianship rather than management, of tradition rather than novelty. That’s not to say the distillery is stuck in the mud – far from it – but innovation is only used when there is a genuine benefit to the whisky, not (as is often the case) a benefit to efficiency or profitability.

This approach accounts in some way for the appeal of Highland Park; there is much more to how the remote site of an illicit still is now respected by many whisky lovers as one of the greatest single malts in the world.  This appreciation is no fluke; it is based on an unbroken tradition of whisky-making stretching back at Highland Park to 1798. As everyone knows, respect has to be earned and more than 210 years of distilling tradition, attention to detail and honesty at Highland Park has achieved just that.

The rich, warming character of this exceptional single malt inspires passion in whisky enthusiasts all over the world and epitomises all that is great about single malt Scotch whisky.

Graham Manson, Distillery Manager, Highland Park Distillery
Kirkwall, Orkney

Gently Smoky, But Surprisingly Sweet. Making Highland Park Whisky The Best Spirit In The World

The basic process at Highland Park is similar to that at other distilleries but it is the differences rather than the similarities, which contribute most to this classic single malt Scotch whisky.

The abiding care and attention, the hallmark of Highland Park production, manifests itself in the distinctive aromatic, full-bodied floral sweetness of the whisky. The harmony between peated and un-peated malt and between European and American oak during maturation results in a fine balance of sweetness and smokiness.

We feel that the quality of Highland Park is built on FIVE fundamental keystones:

Hand-turned malt:

Highland Park is one of only a handful of distilleries where the expensive and physically exhausting custom of turning malt by hand still takes place. This process is very expensive and labour intensive – which is why most distillers have long since abandoned the practice.

Highland Park malt costs two and a half times as much as industrially processed malt. Some 20% of the malt used to make Highland Park comes from Orkney. The remainder comes from Simpsons, a high quality commercial malt producer located in the Scottish Borders. The Orcadian malt is 40 parts per million whereas that from Simpsons is only 1-2ppm. Together they create the balance for which Highland Park is renowned.

Hand-turned malt undoubtedly adds to the balanced layers of aromatic character found in Highland Park single malt Scotch whisky.

Aromatic peat:

In simple terms, peat is an organic compound formed under waterlogged conditions. That description does not explain the fascination peat holds for whisky enthusiasts, nor its powerfully emotive nature.

Its general composition is 90% water, 10% dry material (of which typically 92% is organic). It is no exaggeration to say that peat is the terroir of (island) whiskies. The smoky notes of Highland Park come from this degenerating plant material that is prevalent on the islands of Scotland. The peats of Orkney are up to 9,000 years old and the deepest bogs are up to four metres deep. Highland Park takes its peat from selected banks on Hobbister Moor, combining cuttings taken from three distinct levels to create the required character.

The top layer is called ‘fogg’; approximately 1,800 years old, it is rich in heather and rootlets and is taken from just below the surface. The darker, more compacted second layer is ‘yarphie’; it generates less smoke and more heat. The deepest and, therefore, oldest layer (known as ‘moss’) is almost coal-like. Highland Park’s peat is so crucial that it comes as no surprise the company owns Hobbister Moor; peat is cut in April and is left to dry on the moor over the summer months prior to storage. The distillery works closely with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to renew and maintain a thriving bird sanctuary on the moor; often seen on the moor are hen harriers, grouse, pheasants, hawks, red-throated divers and curlews.

Orkney peat has a subtle and additive impact on the final flavour profile of Highland Park. For Distillery Manager, Graham Manson, the peat is the key to understanding and appreciating Highland Park; he describes its role as being “absolutely fundamental.”

Aromatic peat gives a delicate, but floral smokiness to Highland Park, which is unlike any other single malt Scotch whisky.

Cool maturation:

Location is another critical factor in maximising distillery character in whisky. As with many other aspects of Highland Park single malt Scotch whisky, it is matured on site because it always has been. Highland Park enjoys a specific Orcadian climate, which promotes gentle maturation because it is decidedly temperate. The lack of extremes (of hot or cold) results in even, consistent maturation.

Cool maturation enhances the smooth character of Highland Park single malt Scotch whisky.

Sherry oak casks:

The majority of the Scotch whisky industry uses ex-bourbon barrels for maturation. At Highland Park, bourbon barrels are not routinely filled. Traditional oak casks are used; butts, puncheons or hogsheads – no barrels – all seasoned with dry Oloroso sherry, which contribute to the distinctive richness in the resulting whisky.

The oak source (American or Spanish) is of greater importance than the wine type used for seasoning. Spanish oak sherry casks give colour and dried fruit character whereas American oak sherry casks give vanilla and butterscotch flavours. It is estimated that between around 70% of the final flavours found in a fully matured bottle of whisky will come from the maturation process, which highlights the importance of using the very best quality oak.

Sherry oak casks are far more expensive but the view at Highland Park is that they are worth it for the rich character and natural colour they provide to the maturing spirit. Typically, a sherry oak cask will cost ten times as much as a bourbon barrel.

Cask harmonisation:

To ensure every bottle of Highland Park reaches you in perfect condition, the whisky is harmonised prior to bottling. The impact the different types of cask and wood make on the whisky is nothing short of stunning so, to ensure consistency, the whiskies are brought together to enable the intricate nuances to interweave thus adding complexity.

For each batch of Highland Park single malt Scotch whisky, a combination of cask types is selected and vatted together. The whisky is filled back into casks for a period of up to six months prior to bottling. Older expressions of Highland Park enjoy even longer periods of cask harmonisation. As well as marrying together all the flavours, this process ensures a perfect synthesis of flavour, colour and an overall sense of balance.

For many distillers, this stage is not seen as being strictly necessary and incurs additional costs but, once again, it’s just the way things are done at Highland Park.

MAGNUS EUNSON AND THE BIRTH OF HIGHLAND PARK

Highland Park will forever be associated with Magnus “Mansie” Eunson, the founder of the distillery at the end of the 18th century. Eunson was a beadle (or verger) by day and a smuggler by night, the latter operation based from his bothy on the High Park above Kirkwall where Highland Park distillery now stands.

Stories of smugglers are forever imbued with romance and poetic licence, the canny happy-go-lucky local outwitting corrupt representatives of the establishment; Eunson was no exception.

The best-known Eunson anecdote is recounted by Alfred Barnard in his seminal Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom (1887); “Hearing that the Church was to be searched for whisky by a new party of excisemen, Eunson had all the kegs removed to his house, placed in the middle of an empty room and covered with a clean white cloth. As the officers approached after their unsuccessful search in the church, Eunson gathered all his people round the whisky, which, with its covering of white, under which a coffin lid had been placed, looked like a bier. Eunson knelt at the head with the Bible in his hand and the others with their psalm books. As the door opened they set up a wail for the dead, and Eunson made a sign to the officers that it was a death and one of the attendants whispered “smallpox”. Immediately the officer and his men made off as fast as they could and left the smuggler for some time in peace.”

Smuggling on Orkney had become so prevalent that one Sunday Mansie’s minister denounced the activity as being iniquitous and un-Christian. When the sermon was over, Mansie was asked what he thought of the minister’s pronouncements; “I think that oor minister is no’ very consistent, for at the very time he was preaching, he had six kegs o’ as guid brandy under his pulpit as was ever smuggled.” Clearly, Mansie was confident that his preferred hiding place for the contraband, under the floor of the church pulpit, was well-placed.

In Eunson’s day smuggling was virtually a synonym for illicit distilling. He smuggled gin and brandy principally but remains most closely associated with the origins of Highland Park distillery. By 1798 Highland Park had been founded – or should we say, ‘got caught’!

Later a syndicate, which, somewhat ironically, included Eunson’s arresting officer, John Robertson, and his fellow exciseman, Robert Pringle, purchased the High Park estate, including the distillery in April 1813.

As with all folk heroes, there are stories of Eunson’s charm too; he employed his quick wits to engage a party of guagers (taxmen) in banter and humour after they caught him with kegs of smuggled spirit in a cart and insisted he accompanied them to Kirkwall to deal with the matter. So entertaining was Mansie that the guagers failed to notice a number of his accomplices creep behind the cart and remove the kegs one by one as the party made its way towards town. By the time they reached Kirkwall there was no evidence left so no charges could be brought against the smuggler.

Magnus Eunson chose the High Park site because of the outstanding water source. There may be little evidence of him being an illicit distiller but, over 210 years of distilling history on the same site – resulting in Highland Park arguably becoming the most respected single malt in the world – is evidence enough that he knew whisky.

For more information on the history of Highland Park visit www.highlandpark.co.uk 

HIGHLAND PARK – BRAND HISTORY

Timeline:

1798:     Distillery founded by Magnus Eunson

1813:     The High Park Estate land purchased (including the distillery) by a syndicate including John Robertson & Robert Pringle.

1818:     The Highland Park distillery officially named.

1826:     John Robertson sells his share of Highland Park to Robert Borwick.

1869:     Highland Park is inherited by James Borwick, but as a minister of the church, feels it inappropriate to own a distillery.

1876:     The distillery is purchased by partnership Stuart & Mackay. The heyday of Scotch whisky arrives and Highland Park develops its first class status as an essential ingredient to many popular blended whiskies, including Chivas, Ballantine’s and Haig.

1883:     Sir Donald Currie visits Orkney on his maiden voyage in the ocean liner, The Pembroke Castle and is so taken with the quality of Highland Park whisky, that he purchases a quantity for the rest of his voyage. Both the King of Denmark and the Emperor of Russia are to remark favourably about Highland Park.

1895:     James Grant becomes a partner in the business and the distillery receives numerous improvements from renowned engineer, Charles C Doig.

1937:     The distillery becomes part of the Highland Distillers Group.

1939:     During wartime, Sir Winston Churchill visits the distillery and enjoys a dram.

1979:     Despite being available as an independently bottled 8 year old, there was no ‘official’ distillery release so in 1979, Highland Park 12 year old single malt Scotch whisky was first launched as a proprietary brand.

1993:     Chancellor of the UK Exchequer, Kenneth Clarke, toasted the health of the Scotch whisky industry on Budget day with a dram of Highland Park 12 year old.

1997:     The first of a brace of eagerly-awaited new releases arrive from Highland Park, which are now core expressions in the Highland Park range: Highland Park 18 year old and then in 1998, Highland Park 25 year old made an immediate impression on whisky writers and enthusiasts the world over and both releases have made a lasting contribution to the status Highland Park enjoys today.

2003:      An exclusive 15 year old was released, which would subsequently become part of the distillery’s core range.

2005:     Highland Park 18 year old awarded ‘Best Spirit in the World’ by Spirit Journal editor F. Paul Pacult

2007:     The release of one of the most highly sought after expressions of Highland Park ever - the Rebus20 special edition. This was created in partnership with Ian Rankin, the best selling crime writer and creator of Inspector Rebus, who wanted to create a limited edition 20 year old whisky to celebrate two decades of his fictional character. The 162 bottles were not for public sale, they were offered as competition prizes and auction lots to raise money for charity.

2007 also saw the release of a 21 year old expression, initially as a travel retail exclusive, but today, after landing success in the World Whisky Awards, it has become a highly prized edition to the Highland Park core range.  

In the same year, the distillery celebrated a number of highly regarded industry awards, with Highland Park scooping the coveted title of Distiller of the Year at the San Francisco World Spirits Awards 2007 and was also awarded Double Gold Medals for its 12, 18 and 25 year old single malts as well as Gold Medals for its 15 and 30 year old expressions.

2008:     Highland Park 40 year old, the distillery's oldest permanent expression, was released in April and was awarded ‘Best New Release’ at the World Whiskies Awards in that year.

2009:     The inaugural two expressions of the Orcadian Vintage Series – the 1964 and 1968 – were released to great critical acclaim.  Following the success of limited edition bottling, Hjarta, 2009 also saw the launch of Earl Magnus, the first in a series of three limited editions inspired by the Orkney Inga Sagas.  Followed by St Magnus and the oldest expression,Earl Haakon, the trilogy of releases received widespread acclaim, including victory at the 2010 World Whisky Awards.   The 18 year old awarded ‘Best Spirit in the World’ for the 2nd time by F. Paul Pacult

2010:     For many, 2010 will be a landmark year in the history of Highland Park as the distillery’s oldest ever whisky was released; the 50 year old redefined what could be achieved with liquid, glass and sterling silver, the intricately beautiful design providing a fitting setting for a precious single malt.  Recently, the Highland Park Orcadian Vintage Series has expanded further with the sublime 1970, as well as more recent bottlings of Highland Park from 1971 and 1976, each especially selected vintage representing the wealth of complexity in older expressions of the whisky.

2012:     2012 sees what is perhaps the most audacious Highland Park release so far.  After the hugely well-received Magnus Series comes a continuation of Orkney’s Scandinavian roots with the first expression from The Valhalla Collection.  Highland Park Thor pays homage to the ubiquitous Norse god, exuding power and rich character, alongside a more gentle side.  

To be kept abreast of all proprietary releases from Highland Park visit www.highlandpark.co.uk
 

BIOGRAPHIES

Gerry Tosh – Global Marketing Manager

After nine years at the helm of Highland Park’s award winning brand education programme, culminating in becoming Global Brand Ambassador of the Year in 2010, Gerry put his globe-trotting past behind him to take up the role of Global Marketing Manager.

Whilst still tasked with building relationships with the drinks trade, spirits writers and whisky enthusiasts wherever they may be found in important export markets, Gerry is now overseeing the brand’s marketing strategy and programming across the world.

When not demonstrating his marketing capabilities, Gerry is heavily involved in training the army of brand ambassadors around the world and advancing the efforts of the brand education programme.

Gerry joined Highland Park as their first global brand ambassador in 2002, but worked in the whisky industry from 1997. He was the youngest male to be asked to be a ‘Keeper of the Quaich’ and has created a legendary reputation for his straight talking, fun-infused approach to whisky education.  His hidden talents include rugby – he represented Scotland at youth level – and he also enjoys the occasional round of golf and playing the guitar.

Gerry’s favourite Highland Park single malt is the 1977 Bicentenary.

Graham Manson - Distillery Manager

Graham Manson joined Highland Park distillery in April 2012, bringing over 25 years of experience in the Scotch Whisky industry within the specific areas of engineering and production, working for Bell’s, Diageo and latterly North British Distillery, where he was engineering manager from 1997 until joining Edrington.

Graham moved to Highland Park to seek a fresh challenge where he could put all his skills into practice whilst genuinely making his mark on a thriving business.   

Outside of work family and friends are important to Graham – especially with the move to Orkney. Graham strives to give sound advice to his two sons to ensure they take the right path, well as much as any father can hope to influence teenagers!  He’s also a keen golfer and is looking forward to his first season in Kirkwall.  When not working or golfing, Graham enjoys running and take part in a few 10k road races and the odd half marathon.

Although new to the brand, Graham has been a fan of the 12 year old Highland Park for many years but is now keen to work his way through the range to explore all that the brand has to offer!  

Max McFarlane – Whisky Maker

Max got his first job in whisky at Lang Brothers, despite being asked by Stewart Lang, the Managing Director, whether he was guilty of tossing empty beer bottles into Mr Lang’s back garden. It transpired that the boss lived next door to young Max’s rugby training ground...

Max has 36 years of experience as a nose; this has left him with a wealth of knowledge and pride in what he does daily. As a result, his nosing philosophy is ‘if in doubt, leave it out’ as nothing should be allowed to compromise the integrity of Highland Park.

Married with a teenage son, Max lives in a village on the west coast and he has developed a keen understanding of the effects of the sea on the area. Away from whisky, Max enjoys curling and golf. Rugby union remains his greatest passion, as a referee and coach; however he devotes plenty of energy to fund-raising for a number of charities, especially Cancer Research UK.

Patricia Retson – Brand Heritage Manager

Pat has lived in the Northern Isles for over 25 years and began her career with Highland Park as a tour guide way back in 1995. Since then has climbed the arduous ladder to become Brand Heritage Manager following the successful completion of a Management Diploma and a General Certificate in Distilling.

Over the years Pat has travelled extensively for the company attending various trade fairs and whisky events and also visiting Jerez as an important part of her brand education.  At the distillery, she leads nosing and tastings for whisky enthusiasts and corporate VIPs from all over the world on almost a daily basis in the state-of-the-art tasting room.

As Brand Heritage Manager, Pat manages the visits team and during the busy summer season Orkney plays host to around 70 cruise ships visiting the islands and the distillery.    She ensures that the 5 Star Visitor Centre delivers an unsurpassed visitor experience and that each person leaves Highland Park rich in the knowledge of the whisky making process and it’s importance to the Orcadian community.

Daryl Haldane - Global Brand Advocate

Daryl Haldane joined Edrington in January 2012 in the newly created role of Global Brand Advocate for Highland Park.  Bringing an extensive range of experience from across the hospitality and drinks industry, Daryl’s role is focused on driving brand awareness and distribution across the globe and reinforces the on-going commitment to brand education in key markets.

Prior to joining the Highland Park team, Daryl worked with Diageo’s Reserve Brands as a brand ambassador for over four years, specifically focused on cross category training around the UK. This covered a variety of functions from brand education to product development predominantly in the UK on-trade. A seasoned bartender and competitive mixologist, Daryl has first class skills and understanding of the dynamic trade environment as well as a strong appreciation of bar operations.

Away from work, Daryl loves to travel and experience different cultures.  This passion has seen him visit many spirit-producing countries, including The Dominican Republic and Venezuela, to further his own personal knowledge.

Daryl’s favourite Highland Park expression is the 21 year old.

FLAVOUR AND AROMA: HOW TO TASTE HIGHLAND PARK

The Beginning:

To appreciate the complex array of aromas in Highland Park, try to find a thin, narrow brimmed tasting glass, which concentrates the bouquet of the whisky.  

Hold the whisky up to the light. Look at the colour. Colour only gives us a hint and shapes our expectations. Dark whisky is not necessarily better than light whisky; it may have spent longer in Spanish oak sherry casks. These casks deliver dark fruity flavours, such as dates and raisins. Conversely, a light-coloured whisky may have spent longer in bourbon barrels, which impart light floral and citrus flavours. Some whisky makers use spirit caramel to artificially colour their whiskies, but this is not practiced by Highland Park and all of the colour you experience in the glass will be naturally derived.

The Nose:

Slowly inhale the aromas from deep inside the glass. Close your eyes, visualise what you can smell and note down your findings. Several long sniffs reveal the depth of character within the malt. Allow the whisky some time in the open air and you’ll notice marked differences from when you first nosed it.

The Palate:

Take a small sip and allow the spirit to envelop the whole of the mouth, as the taste buds at the back of your tongue detect very different flavour profiles to the front.  As a rule of thumb, try to hold the liquid in the mouth, chewing it for around 4-5 seconds. This gives every taste bud in your mouth the chance to experience the whisky. Pay close attention to the aftertaste (the sensation in your mouth after you have swallowed). What are the first impressions?  The mouth-feel of a whisky often gives an indication to its complexity- the richer and thicker the body of a whisky, the more natural oils and flavour emerge.  If it is sipped at full strength, a few drops of water can unlock more character and flavour, removing some of the stronger overtones.

The Finish:

As the initial taste gives way and dies down, the finish of the spirit will remain and leave a lasting impression or trace, sometimes imparting further qualities and character to the palate. The longer the finish to a single malt, the more balanced and enjoyable it becomes.

What Makes Highland Park Great?

See these videos...

Peat:

Wood:

Part 1

Part 2

Spirit of Orkney:

There are many other videos on Highland Park which can be viewed at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHU3IYCyI-Y&list=PL79A81BEFB4151F76&feature=plpp

HIGHLAND PARK CORE EXPRESSIONS

HIGHLAND PARK 12 YEAR OLD - 40% abv or 43% abv*

Tasting notes

Colour: Glowing amber
Nose:    Heather-honey sweetness, peaty smokiness
Palate:  Rounded smoky sweetness, full malt delivery
Finish:  Teasing, heathery, subtle smoke. Delicious 

Take your time to appreciate the nose of Highland Park 12 year old and you’ll discover the characteristic honey sweetness followed by fruit – maybe pineapple, apple or pear. On the palate it is drying and leaves a gentle smoky feeling and a flavour that just keeps on going. When you taste Highland Park 12 year old, the front of the tongue should tingle. After 2-3 seconds the mouth should dry. Then 3-4 seconds after that you should have a gentle smoky aftertaste.

Awards and accolades:

Silver Medal, International Wines & Spirits Awards (IWSC) 2011
Bronze Medal, International Spirits Challenge 2011
Double Gold Medal, Best of Show, San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2008
Distiller of the Year, San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2007
Double Gold Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2007
Gold Medal, International Wine & Spirit Challenge 2007
Silver Medal, International Wine & Spirit Challenge 2006
Gold Medal, International Spirit Challenge 2006
Gold Medal, Spirits Journal, Independent Guide to Distilled Spirits, 2005

The International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) is the premier competition of its kind in the world. Its sole aim is to promote the quality and excellence of the world’s best wines, spirits and liqueurs. The 2007 competition attracted more than 5,000 entries.

Press quotes:

“The complexity still keeps you mesmerised.” Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2011

“You get honey and barley first, then fruit, a touch of wood and spice, and a sexy, sensual peaty smoke finale. Some performance.” Dominic Roskrow, The World’s Best Whiskies

“A gorgeous, honeyed combination of heather root, sweet spices, fruit peel/marmalade and a drift of peat smoke. A seductive dram that mixes butter tablet, dried herbs and heather-honey, all bound together by that wispy peat smoke.” Dave Broom, Handbook of Whisky

“The 12 year old is already a phenomenal, potent dram, and the stuff just generally gets better and better as it gets older. Sweet, smoky, smooth and opulent, filled to bursting with spicy fruits and a long, hazily luxuriant and powerful finish, this is a magnificent whisky.” Iain Banks, Raw Spirit

“It will be brilliant to toast the anniversary with an extra-special dram of Rebus' favourite drink… In terms of whisky Rebus would go for something traditional like the Highland Park 12 year old.” Ian Rankin, best selling crime writer and creator of Inspector Rebus

HIGHLAND PARK 15 YEAR OLD 40% abv or 43% abv*

Tasting notes:

Colour: Full golden, clear and bright
Nose: Aromatic smokiness with a hint of camphor
Palate: Rich, initially sweet developing into a dry smokiness
Finish: Rich, long medium sweet then medium dry

Highland Park 15 year old has a remarkably complex nose with notes of camphor, peat, citrus fruits and flowers. The drying sensation on the finish leaves a rich smoky feeling and the immediate desire to refill your glass. The top of the tongue should tingle, the sensation moves towards the back. Some 2-3 seconds later the mouth should dry and 3-4 seconds after that you should have a gentle smoky aftertaste.

* Both the Highland Park 12 Year Old and the Highland Park 15 Year Old are bottled at two different strengths (40% and 43%), dependent on the consumer profile in specific markets.

Awards and accolades:

Double Gold, San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2009
Silver Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2008
Gold Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2007
Silver Medal & Best In Class, International Wine & Spirit Competition 2007

Press quotes:

“Real length to this finale with the usual myriad honey notes going through their repertoire but a further polishing with Demerara and smoke and then buffed with lime, appears to up the charm.” Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2011

“Trademark honey to the fore and a support act of oak and smoke, but the extra years give it the malt more of a caramelised toffee centre.” Dominic Roskrow, The World’s Best Whiskies

“A fresh and enormously drinkable whisky” John Hansell, Malt Advocate

“Great balance between caramelized fruit, honey, and heathery smoke. Mouth-filling. Fudge. Malt.” Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion 5th Edition

“A wonderful whisky: aromatically busy with smoke and sea spray, while the flavour glows like the embers of a heather fire.” Andrew Jefford, Financial Times

HIGHLAND PARK 18 YEAR OLD 43%

Tasting notes:

Colour: Natural colour, burnished gold, clear and bright
Nose:    Rich, mature oak, top note of aromatic smoke
Palate:  Rich, full flavour, honey and peat
Finish:  Soft, round and long

Highland Park 18 year old was awarded the ultimate accolade in 2005, when US spirits writer F. Paul Pacult named it “The Best Spirit in the World”. The 18 year old won an unprecedented double when the exercise was repeated in 2009.

The nose of Highland Park 18 year old displays characteristic toffee sweetness and an almond nuttiness reminiscent of marzipan. The finish is prolonged, full with a smoky aftertaste. When enjoying the Highland Park 18 year old, both sides of the tongue should tingle. After 2-3 seconds your mouth will dry. Then for the important part; 3-4 seconds later your mouth will water. In my experience, this is unique in the world of spirits as no other spirit can make your mouth dry and then water. Every other spirit will dry your mouth to a finish or make your mouth water and then dry. Then you get the gently smoky aftertaste.

Awards and accolades:

Silver Medal, International Spirits Challenge 2011
Chairman’s Trophy, Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2011
Grand Gold Medal, CONCOURS MONDIAL DE BRUXELLES 2011
Gold Medal Best in Class, International Wine & Spirits Competition 2010
Silver Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2008
Double Gold Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2007
Gold Medal, International Spirits Challenge 2007

Press quotes:

“This is a must-have dram… The very latest bottlings have been astonishing.” Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2011

“In the 18 year old, Highland Park has created a true classic which sits firmly at the centre of their range. It's hard for me to find fault with this whisky and I doubt you will find any either. A superb dram.” Neil Ridley, Whisky Magazine

“The 18 year old is my chosen festive dram as it's a dram to share. I believe its elegant smoky/ honey aroma could instigate affectionate glances between the most hostile of in-laws…and with that rich chewy peatiness you know will always be there for you!” Ted Dwane, Mumford & Sons

“Malt whisky’s equivalent to REM’s Man on the Moon. Loud bits, quiet bits, passion and perfect harmony – a little bit of something for everyone and as a whole, instantly familiar while different to everything else in its field. Perfect.” Dominic Roskrow, The World’s Best Whiskies

“After 25 years’ experience, it fits my profile of what makes a perfect whisky, which is to say it’s totally in harmony, there are no rough edges and everything is melded together brilliantly.” F. Paul Pacult, Spirit Journal

“I'm particularly fond of Highland Park 18 year old… it's like a full orchestra playing all at once, but very quietly.” Ranald McDanald, The Times Magazine

“After 18 years in oak, the wood is starting to show through, the result is the perfect balance of peat, smoke, fruit spice, and oak. Highland Park 18 year old has been dubbed the best spirit in the world… it's not hard to understand why.” GQ Magazine Online

HIGHLAND PARK 21 YEAR OLD 47.5%

Tasting notes:

Colour: Natural colour, reddish gold Orkney sunset
Nose: Butterscotch, dark chocolate and orange
Palate:  Full flavour, candied orange peel with spicy dark chocolate leading to a rich smoky sensation
Finish: Rich, complex, sweet smoky sensation then soft medium dry

Matured in mainly American oak Sherry casks, Highland Park 21 year old is full flavoured with hints of candied orange peel and spicy dark chocolate leading to a rich smoky sensation.  Bottling the 21 year old at 47.5% gives this particular expression maximum flavour delivery, which is always a priority for Highland Park.  It also has drier smokier notes allowing whisky drinkers the opportunity to taste another side of Highland Park. 

Awards & accolades:

Silver Medal, International Wines & Spirits Awards (IWSC) 2011
‘World’s Best Single Malt’, World Whisky Awards 2009

Press quotes:

“The higher strength of this bottling really adds sharpness as a very citrus and sherbet'y bite hits the palate, followed by something a little medicinal. Then comes some salted licorice. A drying earthiness appears further in, followed by some sweeter cereals. The finish is excellent and refined.” Neil Ridley, Caskstrength

“Sun heated pebbles. A marine and spicy breeze. Hints of soot, Oysters with a dash of Tabasco. Powerful, uncompromising, wild. Superb” Martine Nouet, Whisky Magazine

HIGHLAND PARK 25 YEAR OLD 48.1%

Tasting notes:

Colour: Natural colour, dark red golden, clear and bright
Nose: Very rich, mature oak, chocolate; fudge
Palate: Full, rich burst of flavour, soft honey; nutty toffee
Finish: Rich, long and surprisingly sweet for its age

The remarkable complexity of this whisky is due in part to the fact that half of it is matured in first fill sherry casks. Although expensive, these casks impart maximum flavour and Highland Park 25 year old proves it. The front of the mouth will be on fire - this is the high alcohol. This will then subside just leaving the front of the tongue to tingle. Your mouth will dry immediately and the taste will just be spice after spice after spice. It has a gentle smoky finish.

Awards and accolades:

Best Highland Single Malt, World Whisky Awards 2011
Best Island Single Malt, World Whiskies Awards 2011
Gold Medal/ Best in Class, International Wine & Spirits Competition 2010
Double Gold Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2007
Gold Award, Whisky Magazine World Whisky Awards 2007
Gold Medal, International Wine & Spirit Competition 2007

Press quotes:

“First up there is honey and candy sweets followed by some citrus notes. Then a triple whammy of spice, peat and oak take your taste buds to a different place altogether. The finish is an intriguing amalgam of all that has gone before.” Dominic Roskrow, The World’s Best Whiskies

“Firm, rounded. More honey, slightly chewy. Nutty toffee. Nougat. Pistachio nuts. Turkish delight. Cedar. Lemon, honey, roses. Fragrant, smooth. Balancing dryness. 93/100” Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion 5th Edition

“A lovely whisky… Holds its shape and character brilliantly for such an old lady. Charming.” Jim Murray, Whisky Bible

“25 year old along with 12, 18 and 30 - the finest product line in all of whisky” F. Paul Pacult, Spirit Journal

HIGHLAND PARK 30 YEAR OLD 48.1%

Tasting notes:

Colour: Naturally rich copper and amber
Nose:    Spicy, aromatic with notes of nutmeg and darkest chocolate
Palate:  A powerful, full flavour with toffee, dark chocolate orange and peat
Finish:  Complex, rich, long and smoky

Highland Park 30 year old has spent 30 years maturing so treat it with respect; you’ll discover the characteristic fudge sweetness together with complex aromatic spices and dark chocolate orange. It has a drying finish, leaving a gentle smoky flavour and a mildly salty aftertaste – the result of 30 years ageing in the Orkney sea spray. With this expression, both sides of the tongue will tingle. Then the top of the tongue will tingle. It’s like a rainbow over your tongue. Then your mouth will water… and water… and water. Finally, the gentle smoky flavour will arrive very late.

Awards and accolades:

Double Gold Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2009
Gold Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2007
‘Highly Commended’ World Whisky Awards 2007
Gold Medal & Best In Class, International Wine & Spirit Competition 2007

Press quotes:

“Stellar whisky that is worth every penny.” Ian Buxton, 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die

“A substantial yet elegant dram that has aged magnificently.” Fine Expressions

“An exemplary Highland Park… Whiskies like this one remind me why I fell in love with whisky in the first place” John Hansell, Malt Advocate

“A humdinger this one. Rich, heathery, with a definite but balanced sherry influence. Becoming very popular, and deservedly so.” Royal Mile Whiskies

“This 30 year old is nothing short of breathtaking.” Virtuoso Life

“Undoubtedly one of the best presented whiskies on the market…Wonderful tasting stuff too, with honeyed sweetness, heathery-toffee notes and a brooding smokiness. Typically great Highland Park…” Royal Mile Whiskies

HIGHLAND PARK 40 YEAR OLD 48.3%

Tasting notes:

Colour: Rich coppery amber hue
Nose:    Spicy, aromatic, background rich dark fruits, nutmeg and darkest chocolate
Palate:  Beautiful balance of sweet toffee notes, dark chocolate, sun-dried orange zest and heather peat smokiness
Finish:  Rich, long smoky and surprisingly sweet

At the time of release, in April 2008, this was the oldest permanent expression of Highland Park and is available globally. Highland Park 40 year old is a wonderfully rich, spicy and smoky expression.

Highland Park 40 year old is a highly complex single malt with decadent rich dark fruits enveloped in an aromatic smoky mist on the nose, with wafts of darkest chocolate and spice.

This expression of Highland Park dances on your tongue with sweet toffee and darkest chocolate spices being balanced by orange zest before leaving a luxurious, long, smoky, sweet sensation. This whisky has been matured entirely in refill casks, allowing the aromatic peat smoke to be retained even after 40 years in wood.

Awards and accolades:

New Release of the Year, World Whisky Awards 2009
Highly Commended, Best In Glass Awards, 2009

Press quotes:

“No surprises that this is an incredibly well drinking Highland Park. Its floral lightness, matched with the hints of sweet vanilla are a surprise- sharing some of the 18 year old's refinement, but taking it into a different league.” Neil Ridley, Whisky Magazine

“Such is the brilliance of the resilience by being on the money with the honey, you can say only it has pulled of an amazing feat with the peat. Sheer poetry…” Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2011

“A pretty, delicate, aromatic nose, with heather honey, gentle spices and soft toffee, balanced by plain chocolate notes which lurk in the background. On the palate, sherbet fizz is accompanied by molasses, figs, ripe oranges and Highland Park’s signature sweet, peat smoke. Sherbet citrus fruits last till the close of the long, smoky finish. At the risk of repeating ourselves, another beautifully balanced, perfectly crafted whisky from Highland Park!” Gavin D Smith

Limited Edition Releases

HIGHLAND PARK 50 YEAR OLD 44.8%

Tasting notes:

Colour:  Clear and bright with burnished mahogany hues.
Nose:    Complex and multi-layered. Dusty wood and old tobacco pouch at first. Slowly the emphasis moves to fruit and spices; cooked damsons, raisins and nutmeg are all prevalent.
Palate:    At full strength, it is rich and spicy with excellent tannins and notes of muscovado sugar to the fore with a hint of wax. When reduced, orange peel, camphor and cloves emerge.
Finish: Long and very spicy, slightly smoky remnants.

Highland Park 50 Year Old is the distillery’s oldest and most prestigious release. Only 275 bottles of this remarkable Limited Edition are available. It is a vatting of five casks distilled in 1960. Like all Highland Park, the 50 year old has been cask-harmonised, that is to say, refilled into casks upon reaching maturity in order to ensure perfect balance and consistency.

Highland Park 50 Year Old has been bottled at 44.8% abv to ensure the full impact of the rich, complex flavours that come from a lifetime of maturation.

Inspired by the elemental forces of Orkney, each bottle is hand-crafted from sterling silver and designed by Maeve Gillies, an internationally-renowned designer of engagement rings and bridal jewellery based in New York. Maeve is also a Global Scot, a business ambassador for Scotland. Her design for Highland Park 50 Year Old celebrates Orkney; in particular the influence of the sea, wild weather and the passage of time.

Orkney offers an unspoilt environment of breath-taking beauty and clarity. The islands are much influenced by their location; the sea, wind and rain all combine to create a unique micro-climate. The triumph of Highland Park 50 Year Old is that the design retains the purity of the original inspiration, that of Orkney itself. The beautiful, bespoke bottle with its hand-fitted sterling silver cage is a suitably stunning setting for such a venerable single malt.

Awards and accolades:

Best Single Malt Scotch 41 Years & Over (Multiple Casks), 2012 Whisky Bible Awards
Best Design and Best Limited Edition, World Whiskies Design Awards 2012

Press quotes:

“A fantastic dram. I find myself in the realms of the utterly ridiculous. If money were no object, it would be this Highland Park. Delicious.” Joel Harrison, Caskstrength

ORCADIAN VINTAGE 1964 42.1%

The Highland Park Orcadian Vintage Series launched with the release of the 1964 and 1968 Vintages in 2009. Inspired by the myths and legends of Orkney, the series is easily recognizable as it is bottled in bespoke black glass, the manufacture of which is an all but defunct art form; its scarcity reflects the rarity of the whisky. Only a couple of vintages a year will be released.

Tasting notes:

Colour: A delightfully rich, russet hue with exemplary clarity and brightness.
Nose:    At full strength the 1964 Vintage is redolent of toasted oak, dried strawberries and shellac with a generous coating of beeswax. When reduced, toasted toffee and smouldering bonfire embers come to the fore, followed by beguiling notes of gingerbread, sandalwood and cinnamon bark.
Palate: Unreduced, this expression has the delicious sweetness associated with Highland Park but combined with a fascinating spiciness; crushed black pepper, crème brûlée and toasted vanilla pod add to the complexity. The addition of water reintroduces the toasted oak initially encountered on the nose accompanied by distinctive hints of Applewood smoked cheddar, vanilla sponge and paprika.
Finish:  Rich, long, lingering spiciness completes the sensational tasting experience of this venerable single malt.

Orkney was under Viking rule until 1468 and this is reflected in the design; the interior hinged door of the oak box of the 1964 Vintage features an intricate illustration of Viking art in marquetry; it depicts a dragon-like beast around whose leg a smaller animal has firmly clamped its jaws. The original representation of the mythical Great Beast appeared on the metal war vane of an 11th century longship. The whisky is a vatting of two casks, yielding 290 bottles at 42.2%; it has a nose of dried strawberries and shellac, a sweet palate with crushed black pepper and vanilla pod and a rich, long, spicy finish.

Awards and accolades:

‘Highly Commended’ Best In Glass Awards, 2009

Press quotes:

“An honour to experience.” “A whisky for the gods… but only if they are worthy.” Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2011

“This dram is the stuff dreams are made of. It creeps up on you and its timing is just perfect. What Highland Park have done here is nothing short of extraordinary and the 1964 vintage is clearly a contender for Whisky Of The Year, without a shadow of a doubt.” Neil Ridley, Whisky Magazine

ORCADIAN VINTAGE SERIES 1968 45.6%

Launched at the same time as the 1964 in 2009, inspired by the myths and legends of Orkney, the series is easily recognizable as it is bottled in bespoke black glass, the manufacture of which is an all but defunct art form; its scarcity reflects the rarity of the whisky. Only a couple of vintages a year will be released.

The 1968 Vintage is a vatting of eight casks, yielding 1550 bottles at 45.6%; the nose is thick with honey and spice, the palate redolent of dried orange peel and ginger with a long, sweet, spicy finish. The interior hinged door on the box of this expression features a mythical Sea Dragon from a wood carving at the church of Urnes in western Norway. The illustration is a combat motif; a dragon-like creature is shown seizing a lesser beast by the neck.

Tasting notes:

Colour: A delightfully rich, naturally golden hue with remarkable clarity and brightness.
Nose:    At full strength the 1968 Vintage is reminiscent of thick, opaque honey but with attractive notes of lemongrass, sandalwood and a variety of aromatic spices. When reduced, citrus fruit and pencil shavings become immediately apparent, followed by sweet aromas of rose and crème caramel.
Palate: At natural strength, this expression of Highland Park has a delicious complexity; the citrus evident on the nose develops into dried orange peel whereas the pencil shavings transform into toasted oak. The aromatic spices are revealed as ginger and cloves as well as some camphor. The judicious addition of water creates a delicious balance between vanilla sweetness and delicate spiciness.
Finish: A lasting impression of rich spiciness is the legacy of a single malt that is extremely long and surprisingly sweet.

ORCADIAN VINTAGE SERIES 1970 48%

Like the previous releases in the Orcadian Vintage Series, the 1970 draws on Orkney’s intriguing myths and legends. Bottled in jet black glass, the whisky is presented in a naturally-coloured oak wooden box featuring an illustration which celebrates Orkney’s Scandinavian heritage; inspired by a carving in the Ringerike style on an 11th century tomb, the illustration is a combat motif featuring a dragon-like creature which is shown seizing a lesser beast.

Specifically chosen by Max McFarlane, the whisky has been created from seven casks, which were laid down in 1970. All were refill casks comprising both butts and hogsheads, producing a total of just 1,800 bottles at natural cask strength of 48% abv. The use of refill casks has allowed the delicate fragrance of the original new make spirit to shine through without being dominated by the wood notes.

Tasting notes:

Colour: Rich, burnished gold still with great clarity and brightness.
Nose: Unreduced, the 1970 Vintage has Highland Park’s signature honey sweetness. A burst of caramelised pineapple is followed by a citrus kick. Water reveals sweet oak notes, followed by nasturtium petals and woodsmoke.
Palate: At natural strength, an intriguing mix of vanilla and coriander seeds. With water, hidden toasted peat smoke and cedar wood emerge.
Finish: Exceptionally long, sweet and spicy.

Awards and accolades:

World’s Best New Release, World Whisky Awards 2011

Press quotes:

“Sherry, sultanas, heather and sweet wood smoke on the nose, while a complex palate features a herbal note, subtle vanilla and peat, with developing oak. Fruitier and smokier when water is added. Long in the finish, with sweet spice and restrained oak.” Gavin D Smith

“The first two releases of the Orcadian Vintage Series were real eye openers, not only because of the quality of cask selection, but also as an exercise in how a distillery has, for decades, managed to create and maintain a perfectly balanced house style. This new bottling sits comfortably next to the 18yo as well as its older brothers and perfectly highlights just how rich the seam of great whisky making runs deeply within Highland Park. Long may that continue.” Joel Harrison, Caskstrength

ORCADIAN VINTAGE SERIES – 1971 46.7%

In the case of 1971, this whisky has been created from seventeen casks, specifically chosen by our talented whisky maker, Max McFarlane, for their exceptional character. Coupled with this long-term maturation, the perfect balance has been achieved in its 657 bottles.  

Tasting notes:

Colour: Golden amber  
Nose: Rich, vibrant and extremely well balanced. Fruitcake with raisins, cherry and a hint of almond, fruity sherry notes with a touch of caramel, faint spicy smokiness, with hints of black tea.
Palate: Wonderfully long strong feel, chocolate, mango, marzipan and cloves are discovered as the spirit opens up.
Finish: Smooth, long and lingering, mouth-watering, spicy with a rich plum aftertaste.

ORCADIAN VINTAGE SERIES – 1976 49.1%

The 1976 Vintage is taken from total of thirteen casks, a mix of butts and hogsheads, to create 893 bottles of a distinctly Highland Park whisky but with softer finish.

Tasting notes:

Colour: Light gold
Nose: Light, fresh fruit such as melon and mango, freshly cut resinous wood. A wonderful butter hint arrives late then the classic heather sweet note.
Palate: Very floral to start, reminiscent of the heather fields of Hobbister Moor in bloom, marzipan and coconut, and ending in a honey coated almond.
Finish: Lingering notion of balance between wood and cream, neither in the ascendancy, smooth violet softens the finish

THE ORKNEY INGA SAGA – MAGNUS SERIES

EARL MAGNUS 52.6%

Earl Magnus is the first in a series of three Highland Park releases, which trace the chequered and often dark periods in the history of Orkney.  The whisky takes its name from Earl Magnus, whose fame has been maintained by the stunning cathedral in Kirkwall (less than a mile from the distillery), a testament to the craftsmanship of medieval master masons. The Highland Park archive is home to many venerable bottles; one in particular, dating from the late 19th century, fits perfectly as an inspiration for celebrating the life of Earl Magnus, featuring an image of the saint taken from an ancient stained glass window.

Tasting notes:

Colour: Golden honey, clear and bright.
Nose: Cedarwood and lemon. Mango chunks with hints of ginger and cinnamon bark.
Palate:  Vanilla, balanced smokiness, milk chocolate and crystallized ginger.
Finish:  Medium sweet with lingering spiciness.

Awards and accolades:

Gold Medal Best in Class, International Wine & Spirits Competition 2010
Category Winner, Best Island (Non Islay) Single Malt, World Whisky Awards 2010

Press quotes:

“Earl Magnus offers a nose that is initially sweet, with caramel, ginger, nutmeg and fresh fruits, becoming smokier and more peppery. The palate is gutsy and smoky, with spicy vanilla and milk chocolate notes. Medium length in the finish, with lots of lively spice.” Gavin D Smith

Saint Magnus 55%

Released in 2010, Saint Magnus is the second release in the Orkney Inca Saga trilogy and celebrates Saint Magnus, one of six canonised Norsemen born in the 11th and 12th centuries when the Orkney Islands belonged to Norway. Saint Magnus was murdered by his treacherous cousin Haakon and was canonized only 20 years later. His influence spread far and wide; more than 20 churches have been dedicated to Saint Magnus. The forename became popular in Orkney, notably in the case of Magnus Eunson, a man forever associated with the founding of Highland Park distillery in 1798.

Tasting notes:

Colour: Copper toned honey, clear and bright.
Nose:    At natural strength there is terrific intensity with classic dried fruits and honey sweetness. Thereafter glorious notes of cinnamon, dried apple and hints of exotic fruits emerge, followed by a whiff of aromatic smoke.
Palate:  Immediately intense and rich, the whisky lingers on the palate emphasizing the perfect balance between sweetness and aromatic smoke.
Finish: Long and gently smoky.

Press quotes:

“Warm and mellow on the spicy, leathery nose, with dried fruits and a little smoke. With time, earthier notes and damp, forest floors develop. Relatively dry on the gently smoky palate. Water releases more smoke and sweet heather notes. Smoke, black pepper, orange and spicy oak in the finish.” Gavin D Smith

Earl Haakon 54.9%

Released in July 2011, the Earl Haakon bottling continues the story from the Orkney Inga Saga but reflects the darker, more sinister character by bringing the murderous cousin into the spotlight.  Whilst the first two bottlings in the Series celebrated the influential 11th century Earl Magnus who was canonised to become Saint Magnus only 20 years after his untimely death, his cousin Haakon was far closer to the warmongering and violent Viking of legend.  It was in fact Haakon who ordered the death of Magnus under the most deceitful and murderous of circumstances.

Highland Park Earl Haakon adopts the character of its namesake through 18 year old cask strength single malt giving a character-busting ABV of 54.9%.   This Orcadian beast encapsulates the spirit of Haakon, a true berserker and warrior, to capture the depth of flavour of Highland Park’s multi-award wining 18 year old but adding a new dimension achieved through one vatting.  The Earl Haakon bottle is entirely black glass, made in the same historic way as the previous two bottlings, and is presented in an open black wood window wooden gift box.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Rich russet, clear and bright
Nose: Shellac, hot fudge, gingercake, lemon zest and blackcurrants with a hint of damsons
Palate: Sweet vanilla, wood smoke, cedarwood and ginger Finish: Lingering spiciness, medium sweet and long

The Valhalla Collection: 

Thor 52.1%

Following on from the phenomenally successful Magnus Series, which drew on the rich Viking heritage of the Orkney Isles, The Valhalla Collection takes its inspiration from the legendary Nordic gods of old.

Highland Park Thor has a natural strength like its namesake, drawing influence from the environment unique to Orkney, to create a truly elemental spirit. Distilled where sea turns to ocean, this 16 year-old single malt is a meeting point of nature’s forces, exuding a dynamic and bold character on the surface, but with an unexpected softer side at its heart.

Bottled at a robust 52.1% abv this limited edition whisky comes housed in a unique wooden frame, which echoes the fearsome contours of a traditional Viking long ship.

Tasting Notes:

Concentrated and forceful, with bold waves of aromatic smoke.  This whisky immediately commands your attention from the first sip and its high strength grabs the palate, refusing to let go.  As its big flavours swirl around the mouth, some softer, sweeter notes develop, giving Thor and unexpected layer of complexity and depth. The finish thunders on, leaving behind the impression of a strong and forceful character.

Awards and accolades

Spirit Design Masters Award, The Spirits Business 2012 Awards
Gold, Best in Class, International Spirits Challenge 2012

Exclusive Global Travel Retail Editions

The Highland Park Vintage Collection is based upon available stocks from the selected years and as such the editions are limited. As each vintage runs out they are naturally replaced by the next available vintage, selected at the same age as the previous vintage. The Vintage 2001 replaces the 1998 and the 1991 replaces the 1990.

The complete Highland Park Vintage series, which is available exclusively in selected travel retail locations, now consists of Vintage 2001, 1991, 1978 and 1973 with the Highland Park Drakkar and the Highland Park Leif Eriksson Limited Editions as evocative echoes of the brand’s Viking heritage.

Highland Park – Drakkar 40% - Exclusive to Gebr Heinemann Airport Retail Outlets

The Drakkar is the best known of the spectacular longships used by the Vikings as vessels of war. Created for kings and adorned with fearsome figureheads, they were symbols of great Scandinavian power and highly valued by their owners.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Rich amber
Nose: Dried fruits with a cherry blossom accent. Pine nuts arrive first before an orange citrus kick, with classic wisps of heather smoke drifts through.
Palate: Orchard fruits come to the front with cherry and orange being the most prominent. Aromatic smoke on the back palate.
Finish: Long and lingering, perfectly balanced.

Awards

Silver Medal, International Spirits Challenge 2012

Highland Park - Vintage 2001 40%

The 2001 Vintage, like the earlier 1998 Vintage, emphasises the smokier side of Highland Park by increasing the number of first fill American oak casks used to mature the whisky. The lighter, sweeter notes from the American oak, allow the smokier character from the distillery’s unique peat to be more pronounced.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Rich gold, clear and bright.
Nose: delicate aromas of heather honey, dried grass with ginger spicy notes and a light touch of coconut.
Palate: On the palate the vanilla and honey sweetness is balanced by the emergence of the aromatic heather peat smoke. Fragrant notes of cinnamon bark and dry spices can also be detected.
Finish: A sweet finish with subtle traces of spice and smoke.

Highland Park vintage 1991 40%

The 1991 vintage uses a backbone of American oak casks to create a lighter style of Highland Park with a powerful smoky character that is balanced by a surprisingly rich and evocative sweet spiciness from the inclusion of first-fill European oak casks.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Golden with glowing coppery tones.
Nose: Aromas of dried orange peel, vanilla with toasted cedar wood and rich fragrant spicy notes such as nutmeg, a hint of cloves and incense.
Palate: Mouth-watering lemon and orange citrus flavours, with sweet vanilla custard notes wrapped in subtle yet complex spices at the end.
Finish: Medium sweet with a lingering, smoky spiciness.

Highland Park Leif Eriksson 40%

Thought to have been born in Iceland circa AD970, the courageous Leif Eriksson set out from the Orkney Islands north of mainland Scotland at the dawn of the 11th century to make the perilous crossing of the North Atlantic and establish settlements in Labrador and Newfoundland, a feat, which earned him the nickname ‘Leif the Lucky’. Highland Park Leif Eriksson is a tribute to the bravery of the early explorer. It owes its distinctive flavour and colour to Orkney’s unique aromatic peat combined with maturation in American oaks casks from both bourbon and sherry.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Yellow gold
Nose: A honey-tinged sweetness of orange blossom on the nose with suggestions of vanilla, spicy dried oak, mango and melon.
Palate: Soft vanilla and sweet barley sugar with a hint of grape, with some gentle wafts of smoke.
Finish: Notes of muscovado sugar sweetness balanced by a drying Orcadian peat smoke.

Highland Park 1978 Vintage 47.8%

The sixth release in the popular range, Highland Park 1978 Vintage is a traditionally hand-crafted single malt which bears the hallmark of its Viking heritage, and complements the existing variety of single malts in the collection. With direct reference to its Viking heritage, the front of the 1978 Vintage presentation box features a beast’s head with bared teeth and wide eyes. The back of the head and neck are covered with a series of birdlike figures intertwined in an elaborate pattern. The original carving is a masterpiece attributed to a craftsman nicknamed ‘the Academician’ which demonstrates the skill of the Viking woodcarvers.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Burnished gold
Nose: cedar wood, spicy cinnamon bark and camphor with the sweetness of honey and hints of ripe melon and lemon peel.
Palate: Rich and spicy with notes of marinated stem ginger, toasted wood and hints of jasmine.
Finish: Long and sweet with lingering spiciness.

Highland Park 1973 vintage 50.6%

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Rich, warm and naturally golden.
Nose: Vanilla and toffee sweetness are evident followed by floral notes and hints of heather, dried citrus fruits, nutmeg and coconut.
Palate: Initial citrus notes, followed by layers of caramel, cinnamon and soft floral flavours. The oak tones are balanced with late arrival of classic Highland Park spicy smokiness.
Finish: Medium sweet, with a long smoky finish.


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