Highland Park 18yo Viking Pride
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 : old gold.
Nose : dried dates, old sherry, heather peat, marzipan.
Palate : dark chocolate, peat, ginger, winter spices, candied pears.
Finish : long and slow, spicy and peaty.
Comments : ok there we talk! Wow…always amazed at how good a product can be that available and that cheap (for the quality)!
Absolutely everything I like is there : a little peat, flavor depth, appreciable lightness… A great favorite that I had abandoned, or rather forgotten !
If you only have one expression to taste from Highland Park, it should be this one 😎