Highland Park, one of the most remote distilleries in Northern Scotland, stands on top of a hill not far from Kirkwall, the capital city of the Orcades Islands. On this stretch of land whipped by the wind and the sea, the peat bog is a deep shade of black thanks to the salt water, and only barley and heather can grow here.
According to folk tales, Highland Park was built in 1798, on the remains of a church whose priest (a man named Magnus Eunson) was also a whisky smuggler. Like Laphroaig, Highland Park is one of the last distilleries that still malts its barley by hand, dries its peat on centuries-old cut stones, and uses ancient kilns (the youngest one celebrated its 100th birthday just recently).
Highland Park’s single malt whiskies are the result of a double distillation in traditional copper alembics. After that, they stay 10 to 40 years in Sherry Oloroso barrels. The end product is a spirits with deep wooden notes and hints of fruits (especially blackberries). It may feel very dry at first, but a certain sweetness quickly shines through, leaving you with an aftertaste of fresh sea water.