Park An Introduction to Highland Park
and its history
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.
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
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.
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.
require any further information on Highland Park, or have any
suggestions, please contact our Global Brand Advocate –
you for your interest in Highland Park, the Best Spirit in the World.
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.
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.
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
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
Smoky, But Surprisingly Sweet. Making Highland Park Whisky The Best
Spirit In The World
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.
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.
feel that the quality of Highland Park is built on FIVE fundamental
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
maturation enhances the smooth character of Highland Park single malt
Sherry oak casks:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Behind The Scenes 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.
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.
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’!
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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.
Highland Park 12 years
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Medal, International Wines & Spirits Awards (IWSC) 2011
Bronze Medal, International Spirits Challenge 2011
Double Gold Medal, Best of Show, San Francisco World Spirits Competition
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,
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.
complexity still keeps you mesmerised.” Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2011
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
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
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
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*
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.
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.
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
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
“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
fresh and enormously drinkable whisky” John Hansell, Malt Advocate
balance between caramelized fruit, honey, and heathery smoke.
Mouth-filling. Fudge. Malt.” Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion 5th
wonderful whisky: aromatically busy with smoke and sea spray, while the
flavour glows like the embers of a heather fire.” Andrew Jefford,
HIGHLAND PARK 18 YEAR OLD 43%
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.
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.
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
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
“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
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
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
particularly fond of Highland Park 18 year old… it's like a full
orchestra playing all at once, but very quietly.” Ranald McDanald, The
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%
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
Medal, International Wines & Spirits Awards (IWSC) 2011
‘World’s Best Single Malt’, World Whisky Awards 2009
“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
“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%
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
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.
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
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
lovely whisky… Holds its shape and character brilliantly for such an old
lady. Charming.” Jim Murray, Whisky Bible
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%
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
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.
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
“Stellar whisky that is worth every penny.” Ian Buxton, 101 Whiskies to
Try Before You Die
substantial yet elegant dram that has aged magnificently.” Fine
exemplary Highland Park… Whiskies like this one remind me why I fell in
love with whisky in the first place” John Hansell, Malt Advocate
humdinger this one. Rich, heathery, with a definite but balanced sherry
influence. Becoming very popular, and deservedly so.” Royal Mile
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%
Colour: Rich coppery amber hue
Nose: Spicy, aromatic, background rich dark fruits, nutmeg and
Palate: Beautiful balance of sweet toffee notes, dark chocolate,
sun-dried orange zest and heather peat smokiness
Finish: Rich, long smoky and surprisingly sweet
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.
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.
Release of the Year, World Whisky Awards 2009
Highly Commended, Best In Glass Awards, 2009
“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
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
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%
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
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.
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.
Best Single Malt Scotch
41 Years & Over (Multiple Casks), 2012 Whisky Bible Awards
Best Design and Best Limited Edition, World Whiskies Design Awards 2012
“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%
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.
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
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.
‘Highly Commended’ Best In Glass Awards, 2009
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
World’s Best New Release, World Whisky Awards 2011
“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.
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
ORCADIAN VINTAGE SERIES – 1976 49.1%
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.
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
Palate: Very floral to start, reminiscent of the heather fields of
Hobbister Moor in bloom, marzipan and coconut, and ending in a honey
Finish: Lingering notion of balance between wood and cream, neither in
the ascendancy, smooth violet softens the finish
ORKNEY INGA SAGA – MAGNUS SERIES
EARL MAGNUS 52.6%
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.
Colour: Golden honey, clear and bright.
Nose: Cedarwood and lemon. Mango chunks with hints of ginger and
Palate: Vanilla, balanced smokiness, milk chocolate and crystallized
Finish: Medium sweet with lingering spiciness.
Medal Best in Class, International Wine & Spirits Competition 2010
Category Winner, Best Island (Non Islay) Single Malt, World Whisky
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
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
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.
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.
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
Finish: Lingering spiciness, medium sweet and long
The Valhalla Collection:
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.
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
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.
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
Highland Park – Drakkar 40% - Exclusive to Gebr Heinemann Airport Retail
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.
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
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.
International Spirits Challenge 2012
Highland Park - Vintage
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.
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%
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.
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.
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
Highland Park 1978
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
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%
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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