Ice, ice, maybe?
Situated on the island of Orkney to the west of Kirkwall, Highland Park is the most northern distillery in Scotland. Legend has it that 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.
Many people think that “Highland Park” means that this is a Highland Whisky, but it’s not. The distillery gets its name for a city district on the island. It is one of the few distilleries to use hard water and traditional floor maltings on site, which are then dried over a fire of peat from Hobbister Moor mixed with local heather—the national flower of Scotland. This is the source of the floral smokiness that is characteristic of Highland Park Whiskies.
When it comes to developing new expressions, the distillery often turns to Nordic mythology for inspiration. Highland Park Ice is no different, since it honours the Ice Realm of Niflheim. Just by looking at the bottle, you can get the feeling that this is a special edition. The blue glazed glass bottle comes in a wooden cradle which resembles a mountain and is accompanied by a leaflet that tells the story of the mythical and magical Ice Realm. It’s cool in more ways than one.
By selecting Whisky that has only been matured in ex-Bourbon casks (contrary to the use of ex-Sherry casks they usually prefer), the distillery has taken an alternative route with this 17 year old limited edition. Bottled at cask strength (53,9% ABV) and packing plenty of peaty punch, this spirit would make Thor tremble.