Highland Park distillery is situated in the town of Kirkwall on the Orkney Islands, which are located off the north eastern coast of Scotland. Its remote location, surrounded by rugged landscapes and the North Sea, plays a significant role in shaping the whisky's distinctive character.
Founded in 1798 by Magnus Eunson, a notorious smuggler and illicit distiller, Highland Park has a rich history intertwined with the islands' traditions and myths. The distillery is proud of its Norse heritage, and this influence is evident in the names of many of its expressions.
Highland Park whisky is renowned for its balanced use of peat and malted barley. Unlike some of its Islay counterparts that are heavily peated, Highland Park strikes a harmonious balance. The peat used here imparts a gentle smokiness to the whisky, allowing other flavours to shine through.
One of the keys to Highland Park's complexity is its use of a combination of sherry-seasoned European oak casks and American oak casks for maturation. This dual cask approach lends a wide spectrum of flavours, from dried fruits and spices to vanilla and honey.
Highland Park offers a diverse range of expressions to cater to a wide array of tastes. Some of the core expressions include the 12-Year-Old Viking Honour, 18-Year-Old Viking Pride, and the 15-Year-Old Viking Heart. Each of these bottlings showcases the distillery's commitment to quality and consistency.
Highland Park is also known for its limited-edition releases, which often pay homage to the history and mythology of the Orkney Islands. These rare whisky releases are highly sought after by collectors and connoisseurs for their unique flavour profiles and storytelling elements.
Over the years, Highland Park whisky has received numerous awards and accolades, further cementing its status as a top-tier Scotch whisky. It consistently earns high praise for its balance, depth of flavour, and craftsmanship.
Tasting Highland Park whisky is a journey through a myriad of flavours. You might encounter notes of heather honey, dried fruit, orchard apples, cinnamon, and a gentle smokiness that lingers on the palate. The complexity of each expression is a testament to the skill of the distillers.