Highland Park 12 Year Old Isle of Orkney Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
*Top 50 Spirits, 2011* Elegant, light and pretty. This amber spirit has a light, briny vanilla scent and a silky feel. A veil of smoke rises through the Scotch (but fades out fast), leaving behind a sweet nutty, vanilla finish.
Highland Park 12 Year Old boasts individuality and complexity, thanks in part to the use of Orcadian peat in the distillery floor maltings and the employment of ex-sherry casks for maturation. The nose is fragrant and floral, with hints of heather and some spice. Smooth and honeyed on the palate, with citrus fruits, malt, and distinctive tones of wood smoke in the warm, lengthy, slightly peaty finish. (Vol. 21, #1)
Highland Park, one of only two distilleries in the Orkney Isles, is the world's most northerly whisky distillery. It was founded in 1798 by Magnus Euson. Until it was licensed in 1825 its production was illicit and Euson was assisted in evading the excisemen by a kinsman who was a Kirk elder, and hid the contraband under the pulpit. By the 1880s, Highland Park had an established reputation and at one time both the King of Denmark and the Emperor of Russia declared it to be the finest whisky they had ever tasted. Highland Park has been described as the greatest all-rounder in the world of malt whisky. Its product retains much that is traditional, even original. It has its own floor maltings and peat beds and two traditional peat-fired kilns. Many believe the unique character of Highland Park comes from the local peat beds which have absorbed the salt spray of centuries and which impart a rooty, heathery quality to the whisky. Only a carefully measured amount is used to fire the kiln for each malting. Oak casks are then used for the maturation process. As a single malt, Highland Park matures superbly. In blends, it is said to be a catalyst, bringing its best to other malts.