Aged for 18 years, this whisky was called "the greatest distilled spirit of this generation"by Wine Enthusiast.
Situated in the Orkney archipelago in Northern Scotland, Highland Park Distillery was founded in 1798 by Magnus Eunson. The name of the distillery is derived not from the region of Scotland known as The Highlands — the Orkney islands are not a part of The Highlands — but rather from the region known as High Park, where the distillery was founded.
Today, over two centuries after its founding, Highland Park Distillery remains one of the few Scottish distilleries that continues to hand-turn, malt, and peat its own barley. "You have to be careful here on the malting floor," says Eric Tait, Highland Park's Maltman. "You find it can get a wee bit slippery underneath. I have to turn the malt every eight hours to prevent the roots getting tangled and to get it all aerated properly. The airing also helps it to grow. The malt will be on the floor for seven days and I'm running five floors at the moment."
After malting the barley, Highland Park Distillery smokes it using peat sourced from Hobbister Moor, a peat bog located approximately seven miles from the distillery. Hobbister Moor peat is sourced from floral heather bushes, which burn hotter and cleaner than the grassy peats of Islay. In addition, the peat sourced from Hobbister Moor has greater derivatives of carbohydrates and a lower concentration of lignin than peat from Islay, giving Highland Park's peat a unique chemical fingerprint. The peat sourced from Hobbister Moor is "absolutely fundamental"in understanding the flavor of Highland Park Whisky, says Russell Anderson, the distillery manager. Together with Orkney's unique environment (the temperate, moist climate of the archipelago results in an even maturation process), the peat gives Highland Park Whisky its traditional malty flavors that are tempered by just a subtle touch of smoke.
Once the barley has been peated, it is mashed and fermented before being twice distilled through Highland Park's copper-pot stills. Following distillation, Highland Park 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is matured for a minimum of 18 years in a combination of used sherry and bourbon casks, and bottled at 86 proof. As a result of the long maturation, the whisky has a dark amber color, along with an aroma of dried fruits, heather honey, cedar and soft peat. The aroma gives way to notes of apricots, cherries and honey on the palate, which are well-balanced by a subtle, smoky undertone that is accented with a hint of salty tang. The whisky finishes with a rich, mellow smoothness that has warming, spicy touch.
Highland Park 18 Year Old Single Malt earned the Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2007 and 2009, and earned a score of 96-100 points from Wine Enthusiast, which said it was " the greatest distilled spirit of this generation." In addition, it was rated the best spirit in the world by F. Paul Pacult (founder of the Spirit Journal), who said "it fits my profile of what makes a perfect whisky, which is to say it's totally in harmony; there are no rough edges and everything is melded together brilliantly."
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86 (43% ABV)
Highland Park Distillery
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Dark amber color, along with an aroma of dried fruits, heather honey, cedar and soft peat. Aroma gives way to notes of apricots, cherries and honey on the palate, which are well-balanced by a subtle, smoky undertone that is accented with a hint of salty tang. Rich, mellow finish that has warming, spicy touch.