Highland Park 8-Year-Old (Gordon & MacPhail)

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Highland Park Distillery

Founded in 1798, Highland Park is the northernmost whisky distillery in all of Scotland. Built near Kirkwall in an area known as High Park, the single malt produced there first appeared on the market in the 1970s as an 8-year-old. Later, it was replaced with a 12-year-old that has since become one of the most popular drams on the face of the planet. Indeed, it was a 12-year-old Highland Park that first turned me on to whisky many moons ago.

It was the late 19th century before Highland Park really began to develop a name for itself. Under the ownership of William Stuart and his business partner James Grant, the distillery was twice expanded. They struck up a successful business relationship with blenders Robertson & Baxter, helping to cement the reputation of their spirit as a character malt that could bolster any blend.

Highland Park the is owned by the Edrington group. There are 10, 12, 18, 25, 30 and 40-year-old expressions available alongside several special editions, usually named after various aspects of Norse mythology, a homage to the Viking heritage of Orkney.

The Whisky

This particular expression meanwhile comes from Gordon & MacPhail, an Elgin based retailer, independent bottler and owner of Benromach distillery. Aged for 8 years, it has been bottled at 43% abv and is available in the UK for around £30 – £35.

Smell: Fresh. Vanilla and Cream, Heather, Apple, Pear & Biscuit.

Taste: Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Oak, Biscuit, Pepper and subtle Smoke.

Thoughts: On the market for around £30 – £35 and a very pleasant dram at that price. Given that it’s been diluted to 43%, there is a lot of character in the glass. I would argue, in fact, that it’s every bit as good as the official 12-year-old. An affordable snapshot into the capabilities of Highland Park distillery.

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