Situated on the Orkney Islands to the west of Kirkwall, Highland Park is the most northerly distillery in the World. It was founded by Magnus Eunson in the late 18th century, one of many Orcadian smugglers and illicit Whisky producers who rebelled against the heavy excise duties imposed to finance the war with Napoleon. It is said that he used his position as church officer to conceal Whisky beneath the church pulpit.
The distillery was licensed in 1826 by Robert Borwick, whose son-in-law, the local Exciseman John Robertson, is generally credited with routing out the smugglers. Highland Park is one of the few distilleries to use hard water. Also unusual is the use of traditional floor maltings for germinating the barley, which is then dried over a fire of local aromatic heather peat. This is the source of the heathery smokiness that is characteristic of the Highland Park Whisky.
Whisky from Highland Park is released as Single Malts as well as sent over to Famous Grouse for blending. The core range of Highland Park is composed of 12, 18, 21, 25, 30, 40, 50 year old Whiskies, and a Dark Origins bottling.
Whiskies are generally peat-dominated with fruit and spice notes coming from the Sherry casks with coastal notes.
What kind of Scotch is Highland Park?
The name of the distillery does not refer to the area of Scotland known as The Highlands, but rather to the fact that the distillery was founded on an area called 'High Park' distinguished from a lower area nearby. Highland Park is the most northern distillery in Scotland, located on the Orkney Islands. Their range of Whiskies have signature notes of peat and sea breeze dominated with fruit and spice notes imparted from the Sherry casks.
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Highland Park is the most northern distillery in Scotland, located on Orkney Island.
Orkney was the home to illicit distillation in the late 1700s, so it is almost impossible to give an exact date for its founding. However, it is believed that Highland Park Distillery was built in 1798.
Robert Borwick got the first legal license for the distillery in 1826. James Grant purchased the distillery in 1895 and increased the production.
In 1937, the Highland Distillers Co. bought the distillery, and in 1979 they decided to release single malts instead of giving the malt away for blending. This was a turning point in the history of the distillery. In 1999, Edrington Group took over the distillery and it continued to improve.
Cattie Maggie's Spring in Orkney is the main water source for the Whisky. The wash stills in the distillery have a capacity of 20,000 liters, while the spirit stills have a capacity of 18,000 liters.
Highland Park is still partially using the floor malting procedure for their peated barley, which is peated by the peat collected from the Hobbister Moor.
The distillery has 26 warehouses, in a climate that is never too cold or too hot, creating a perfect medium for maturing the Whisky. Highland Park seasons the casks with dry Oloroso Sherry oak, making the Whisky more fruity and spicy.