Highland Park

  • Pronunciation: hai-lund PARK
  • Founded: 1798
  • Region: Island
  • Status: Operational
  • Owner: Edrington Group
  • Production Capacity: 2,500,000 litres a year

Located on the remote island of Orkney, the distillery was founded in 1798 supposedly by a preacher by day and smuggler by night named Magnus Eunson. Eunson owned the distillery until he was arrested for transporting illegal substances in 1813. Eunson never stood trial creating myth and mystery about his story.  Throughout the nineteenth century the distillery was a favourite of blenders including Haig & Co, Chivas Brothers, George Ballantine & Co and John Dewar & Sons.

Due to the advent of the Second World War, Highland Park ceased production. As the islands were home to both a large naval presence and a prisoner of war camp, the distilleries mash tun was used as a bath for some of the soldiers. The distillery resumed production at the end of the war in 1945.

Throughout the years there have been many Highland Parks bottled and sold independently, notably a bottle from James Grant & Co distilled in 1958 and bottled in 1975. This 17 year old is highly collectable.

In the 1970's Highland Park was available as an independently bottled 8 year old. The popularity of this made Highland Distillers (the owners) realise that the market was prepared for a distillery bottle. In 1979 the Highland Park 12 year old was released and has been highly popular ever since.

The standard distillery releases over the years have included a 12 year old, a 15 year old, 16 year old (travel retail) an 18 year old,  a 21 year old, a 25 year old, 30 year old, a 40 year old and the extravagantly presented 50 year old.

They have also released a number of single casks including the ambassador cask series, as well as vintage releases from 1967, 1968, 1973, 1977, 1978 and  1986.

In 2009 the Earl Magnus, a 15 year old,was released, followed by the Saint Magnus a 12 year old. The set was completed with the release of the 18 year old Earl Haakon. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these were not on the shelves for very long.

There are also various commemorative bottlings from Highland Park including a 19 year old Queen of the South. It seems strange for the most northerly distillery to release a whisky to commemorate 89 years of Queen of the South (89 bottles produced).  Another famous, very rare release is the 20 year old Rebus bottling. These  were originally all given to Ian Rankin to commemorate 20 years of Inspector Rebus. The Bicentenary Highland Parks from 1977 and other gems from 1974 followed and more recently limited releases of Highland Park Thor, Loki, Drakkar, Leif Erikson, Lunar, Einar, Harald and Svein.

CURRENT AUCTION ends Monday 6th March, from 7pm (GMT).

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