Highland PArk Keystone Series
In April, they hand cut their peat – made up of compacted layers of heather and plants, nearly 4m deep in places and some of it over 9,000 years old – and leave it to dry naturally over the long, bright summer months. When it burns in their ancient kiln fires, drying there malted barley, it imparts that intense floral peat smoke which makes Highland Park whiskies so distinctive.
A limited edition of 1,200 bottles, HOBBISTER was the first of a series of five limited editions, showcasing their five keystones of production.
On the malting floor, barley produces substantial heat as it germinates. So, every eight hours, for six days, they painstakingly turn the malted grain by hand to maintain just the right amount of moisture (5%) to fully absorb the intense aromatic smoke –the‘reek’– from the Hobbister Moor peat that smoulders in their kilns. Usually, their hand-turned floor maltings account for 20% of the malt used in Highland Park but, for this special release, they used 100% to deliver a powerful intensity of peat smoke. SHIEL symbolises the effort they put in to every grain and was the second in a series of five special editions, showcasing they’re five keystones of production.
Highland Park casks are made in Jerez in the south of Spain where they’re filled with Oloroso Sherry and left to mature for around two years before being emptied and shipped back to Orkney. Expensive and time-consuming perhaps, but with casks accounting for between 60% and 80% of the final flavour of the whisky, well worth it in they’re opinion. The third release in there Keystones series, QUERCUS showcases the rich flavours of fruitcake and natural golden colours that come from maturation in first-fill European sherry oak casks.
Gordon Motion, their Master Whisky Maker, selected and married three 2005 vintage, first-fill sherry seasoned American oak casks from their most northerly warehouse where they have enjoyed a long and even-paced maturation, free from extremes of temperature.
Named after the dramatic cliffs on Orkney’s Atlantic coastline, the final point on land before Greenland.
YESNABY was the fourth in a series of five special editions, showcasing they’re five keystones of production.
For every batch of Highland Park they release, Gordon Motion, their Master Whisky Maker, carefully selects and combines up to 150 casks in one vat. The whisky is then re-casked and left to rest for a minimum of one month before being bottled. During that critical period, flavours from the different casks marry together, reaching a harmony that’s delivered through their long finish and fully rounded flavour.
HILLHEAD, bottled at 46% ABV, marries both flavour and strength and was matured in three casks:
European Oak Sherry, American Oak Sherry and American Oak Bourbon – to highlight the impact of harmonisation on their intensely balanced flavour.
HILLHEAD was the last in a series of five special editions, showcasing they’re five keystones of production.
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