Welcome back everyone. Hopefully none of you died in yesterday’s hospital explosion. Today we are heading to Orkney for a visit to the Island region of Scotland. There are only 2 distilleries on Orkney, Scapa and Highland Park. We have had both distilleries represented in previous calendar editions but it is generally difficuly to find casks of either distillery for independent bottling. I’m going to give it up straight away because I know most of you would skip ahead to find out anyway. Highland Park is the distillery in question and as often happens the cask was sold to the boys at Single Cask Nation on the proviso that they keep the distillery name off the label. Interesting that they came up with Stones of Stenness as their name for this cask. The Stones of Stenness are said to be the oldest neolithic stone circle in the British isles and are located on Orkney.
Highland Park is the Northern most Scotland Distillery at present making whisky. Highland Park was founded in 1798 and is one of the few distilleries to this day that uses some locally sourced peat and heather that they use for fuel combining malted barley from mainland sources. It is owned by the Edrington Group and has been consistently releasing well received Single Malts for decades. They focus a lot on the Viking heritage of this Northern Island and their packaging is easily recognisable on whisky store shelves. Most of it’s production however still ends up at Glenturret to become the backbone of the Famous Grouse experience that drives the Edrington Scotch brands worldwide.
While not as peaty as whiskies from Islay there is no doubt that Highland Park has a lovely note of peat that runs through every whisky they produce. Lets see what this cask from Single Cask Nation is going to reveal.
Single Cask Nation Stones of Stenness Orkney 18 Year Old Single Malt – Refill Sherry Cask # 75 – Island – 54.9% ABV
Colour: There is a subtle touch of amber to light red hue just hinting at the sherry influence. As a refill cask it took a full 18 years for even that tinge to show up.
Nose: The peat influence here is light on the nose but no doubting the savoury overtones. Like the wafting smell of Cindy’s winter warming beef stew simmering away in the slow cooker. There is some denser salty note here as well. Dare I say even a touch of vegemite… Some sweet mesquite beef jerky.
Palate: Mouth coating and the alcohol hit me as higher than I was expecting for mid 50’s. I took a brief pause and waded back in for another sip. Delicate for a cask strength Highland Park. That rich wine infused beef stew that I got on the nose is certainly front of mind and palate here. A heaping side plate of creamy mashed potatoes which is really interesting. It’s so amazing once the brain takes over and an expirential memory is served up that everything can then fall fully into that moment. A heavy pour of rich red wine splashed into this stew.
Finish: Some lighter citrus notes hitting me here seemingly out of nowhere as this was all rich savoury but with a wine soaked undercurrent.
A surprisingly delicate dram for the Nation as my experience of their usual picks are more the bigger and more oily offerings. This is very cool to see from them and I’m digging it big time.
in the 4th edition on day 20 we had the delicious Exclusive Malts Cameronbridge 25 Year Old Single Grain.
Tomorrow as we head into the final run to Christmas we check out another dram from Hunter Laing with their Old Malt Cask range.
Fun times ahead ladies and gents so hold tight to your glasses.