Highland Park 12yo Viking Honour
Aged in ex-Sherry casks, European oak
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 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, including its core line and except the 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 : gold.
Nose : dried apricots, fortified wine, slight peat, honey.
Palate : smoked honey, heather peat, candied oranges, cooked cereals. The texture is fine without being diluted, rather silky.
Finish : slow and of average duration, peaty, slight astringency.
Comments : there we talk a little more than with the 10 year old. I can feel more depth and better texture. It is difficult to correctly evaluate HP when you have tried several fantastic expressions, but generally I like this new 12 version. As I wrote in an article in August, this expression is slightly better than the previous one (2009-2017), without there being a lot of differences.