Highland Park distillery information

On the Island of Orkney, in the town of Kirkwall, we find the most northern distillery in Scotland (Its close neighbor Scapa lies roughly half a mile more south); Highland Park. Claimed to be founded in 1798 by Magnus Eunson, it takes its name from the its location: the “High park” above Kirkwall. In 1826, it was officially licensed. It shifted ownership a few times over the years (including being owned by a priest who insisted on reducing the production as he believed producing whisky contradicted his religious status). It finally was purchased by James Grant (of the Glen Grant distillery), who bought and expanded the distillery in 1895. In 1937 it became property of the Highland Distillers group, which was acquired by Edrington group in 1999.

The island of Orkney

The island of Orkney

Highland Park prides itself on sticking to the traditional methods of producing whisky. It is one of the few remaining distilleries that malt their own barley. The barley is steeped in mineral rich water, then laid on the malting floor to germinate and is turned by hand. Being a traditional Island whisky, 20% of the malt used is kilned with local peat, which is particularly rich with heather. It’s this heather that is believed to be a major factor of the unique taste of the whisky. For maturation, Highland Park swears by Sherry oak casks, though they at times experiment with other cask types for special releases.

The stills at Highland Park

The stills at Highland Park

Highland Park Whisky

Winners of many international prices, including “the best spirit in the world”, Highland Park is hailed by many whisky enthusiasts. Their core expressions are:

  • 12 Years Old
  • 15 Years Old (Internationally available)
  • 18 Years Old
  • 21 Years Old
  • 25 Years Old
  • 30 Years Old
  • 40 Years Old
  • Dark Origins – Similar to the 12 Year Old, but with a lot of extra sherry

You might also be lucky enough to come cross some of their special bottlings:

  • Thor
  • Loki
  • Freya
  • Orcadian Series Vintage 1964
  • Orcadian Series Vintage 1968
  • Orcadian Series Vintage 1970
  • Orcadian Series Vintage 1971
  • Orcadian Series Vintage 1976
  • 50 Years Old (Limited edition – 275 bottles)

Finally, Highland Park released a series called The Warriors. The Warriors can only be bought in travel retail (duty free), and it consists of the following expressions:

  • Svein
  • Einar
  • Harald
  • Sigurd
  • Ragnvald
  • Thorfinn

Distillery info:

NameHighland Park
Water sourceCattie Maggie's Pool
Owned byEdrington group

Highland Park Distillery
Holm Road
KW15 1SU

+44(0) 1856 874619

Visitor centreYes
CommunityInner Cirlce

Distillery Setup:

Mash tun8 tonnes (semi-lauter)1
Washback29,200 litres litres12
Wash still14,000 litres2
Spirit Still9,000 litres2
Expected yearly output in LPA (Litres of pure alcohol)2,500,000

Images courtesy of Highland Park