Highland Park Dragon Legend
Aged in ex Sherry casks
Highland Park, born 1798 from the imagination of Magnus Eunson : butcher and church officer…he was also a smuggler and an illicit distiller by night. He chose a place up from Kirkwall (Orkney’s largest city) to see the authorities coming, a Park High from town…thus the name Highland Park (absolutely no reference to the Scottish Highlands or the geographical position of Orkney compared to Mainland).As for process goes, HP uses a small part of peated barley, about 20%, with their own peat. This one is very different than what can be found in the Highlands or on Islay. On Orkney, there is no tall vegetation, no trees, no shrubs. So the peat there is just decomposed grass, or heather, giving the whisky a much “smoother” peat side than other peated whisky. HP also uses, mainly, some of the highest quality Sherry casks. Just like for Macallan, Edrington possesses its own Sherry factory, helping to guarantee an enough arrival of Sherry casks. The use of Orkney’s peat and high quality Sherry casks is what makes HP such a unique Scotch.As of late, Highland Park has been embracing its Vikings roots for every new expressions, except its core line and single casks. Some fans and industry members have criticized this portion of marketing. But I have to say, after spending 2 weeks on Orkney, it’s not HP embracing it : it’s the whole island. People have no idea how much Viking there is on the island : the streets, the boats names, the shops, etc. As someone there told me, Orkney has been part of the Danemark Kingdom for more than 6 centuries, and part of Scotland for less than 6. Do the math.
Color: slightly coppery.
Nose: peat as I am unaccustomed to from HP; the same taste as usual but stronger. Add heavy Sherry, licorice and cinnamon.
Palate: candied citrus and heather peat, light smoke, cherries, dark chocolate.
It tastes a lot like the HP 12 … but on steroids!
Finish: slow, long, all in Orcadian peat !
Comments: the flavors are there, very present, explosive. Not a very complex dram, but nice enough. It’s cool to see a twist on a classic like the HP12 ! At this price, for quality, it’s a buy!