In addition to being one of the leading Scottish whisky distilleries, Highland Park is also the northernmost. The Orkney Isles are home to one of the most popular and award-winning players in the field of contemporary Single Malt. There’s enough to be captivated by, with its facinating background story, an enchantingly unique nature and an incredibly successful marketing campaign. It’s cold at the top and the legend of Highland Park should include both history, landscape and strategy.
Scattered between razor-sharp cliffs that tower over the clear oceans, one finds the rich marshes that stretch across the landscape – some say – like sleeping whales. This is the home of the Orkney Isles. The coastal town of Kirkwall is found in the middle of the mainlands. Here lived a man in the mid-1600th by the Scandinavian-sounding name Magnus Eunson. A god fearing and well-respected man, prominent for his role as a preacher in the local church. But at nightfall, he would sneak into a dark factory building to create illegal aqua vitae – the water of life – better known to the Scottish as whisky.
The story claims that he would hide his stash of bottlings underneath the pulpit. Yet a taxfree double-life of this caliber can’t persist in a community this small, so in the beginning of the 1700 century, he was reported to authorities and all production ceased. The Highland Park estate was aquired, and the distillery officially founded in 1798 by local farmer David Robertson. Interestingly, it was then resold in 1816 to the very same officer responsible for shutting down Eunson’s nightly activities. His name was John Robertson whom, along with his former collegue, aquired a legal permit. The foundation was laid and it was finally time to create whisky.
“…it was time to bottle viking blood.”
Throughout the 1700th century, the distillery went through a series of transfers of ownership and found itself, following a significant expansions, at the hand of the former Highland Distillers; the owners of the Macallan and Famous Grouse brand, in addition to Highland Park. This proved to be a pivotal change of ownership, one that to this day influences the impression of Highland Park They were later absorbed into the Edrington Group family, who decided to globally intensify the marketing efforts. This wasn’t just whisky, this was Single Malt. And it couldn’t be just Single Malt, because the name had to compete against numerous established and eager, competitive brands.
Consequently, the theme of the new direction would be found in the early roots of the Orkney Isle’s population. Highland Park therefore began to sharpen their blades, raise their sails and carve runes: It was time to bottle viking blood. The next whisky prepared for conquest would of course be named after the Earl of Orkney, Magnus Erlendsson and in 2009, the expression Highland Park Earl Magnus Edition One 15 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky was ready for its global release. Today, this is an important bottle for a company that have since then gone bezerk across the globe. A direct result of this strategy, The Edrington Group has since (per 2022) managed to seize an impressive market share of 4% of all Scottish whiskies sold globally.
Currently, Highland Park is a world-renown brand and its marketings campaign has greatly assisted in helping to spread word of the award-winning whisky. Additionally, their current Senior Brand Ambassador, Mark Markvarden, is himself from Denmark.
The selection of Highland Park is characterized by a lightly peated impression as well as their dedication to ex-sherry cask maturation. The Orcadian Islands have a noticable absence of trees, giving this particular peat strong notions of heather, grass and herbs. The profile of Highland Park is universally gentle, carefully balanced by the maturation within the casks. We realized long ago that the Vault is no safe haven from the wratch of the vikings, and so they have long established a foothold on our store shelves.
And now we’re thrilled to share the impression of Highland Park with you! Click here to begin your raid.