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Founded in 1798 by smuggler Magnus Eunson, 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 1970’s as an 8 year old. Later this was replaced with a 12 year old which has 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, some ten years 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 and a successful business relationship struck up with blenders Robertson & Baxter, helping to cement the reputation of the Highland Park spirit as a ‘character’ malt that could bolster any blend.
Today the distillery is owned by the Edrington group and in addition to the 12 year old, 10, 18, 25, 30 and 40 year old expressions are available along with several special editions, named after various aspects of Norse mythology – a homage to the Viking roots of Orkney.
Here though is a bottling put together by Gordon & MacPhail, the Elgin based retailer and independent bottler who own the 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.
Value for Money: On the market for around £30 – £35. Very pleasant dram at that price.
Scores: 43.5 / 50. About the Scores…
For a malt whisky diluted to 43% abv, this is a really pleasant dram with ample character. For a very reasonable price, Gordon & MacPhail are offering a snapshot of what the great Highland Park can do.