The Highland Park distillery
Without Highland Park, the Orkney Islands would be missing that little extra that adds to their Scottish soul. For a long time ruled by the vikings, this wind-battered archipelago seems to have more of a Norwegian accent than the rolling ‘r’s of the Highlanders.
Often referred to as the most northern distillery in Scotland, Highland Park looks over the town of Kirkwall. In the evening, the elegant silhouettes of its two beautiful pagodas decorate the sky as it is enveloped in the setting sun.
Highland Park is one of a handful of distilleries that still has traditional malting floors. Here, a tepid temperature always prevails, most likely due to its thick walls and well-controlled ventilation. Its malt is highly peated and 80% supplemented by unpeated malt from the Tamdhu maltings in Speyside.
Its peat comes from the distillery’s own peatlands located in the neighbouring hills of Hobbister Moor. Sourced at varying depths, this peat contains a large proportion of heather roots, with the combination of the heather’s honey notes and various earthy sensations often being expressed in its whisky. Collecting the thousand-year-old peat has on occasion led to archaeological discoveries, which has resulted in the Orkney Islands being listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Highland Park is often included in the hit-parade of tasters, thanks both to its younger bottlings and its older versions. The 18 Year-Old in particular is often deemed a model of balance and elegance, with a subtle hint of first-fill sherry casks and traditional hogsheads. It whispers a gentle marine breeze rather than a strong winter gust.