Giants of Whisky

High­land Park goes back to its Vik­ing roots with the new Ice Edition, a spe­cial sin­gle malt that’s steeped in mythol­ogy

Hong Kong Tatler - - Tatler Focus Highland Park -

Photography

In the re­mote Orkney Islands, the lo­cals are proud of their Vik­ing her­itage. An im­por­tant part of the west­ern sea route, Orkney was in Norse hands for more than six cen­turies be­fore it was ceded to Scot­land in 1468, and the Vik­ing in­flu­ence can still be seen to­day.

It’s also home to High­land Park, the north­ern­most whisky dis­tillery in Scot­land, which has been mak­ing pre­mium-qual­ity whisky from the out­skirts of the Orkney cap­i­tal, Kirk­wall, for more than two cen­turies. The whisky maker is cel­e­brat­ing these Vik­ing roots with its lat­est re­lease, Ice Edition, in­spired by Norse mythol­ogy.

“The Ice Edition is part of our trib­ute to our Vik­ing ancestry, whose leg­end goes that the world was di­vided into Mus­pel­heim, or the land of fire, and Ni­fl­heim, the land of ice, frost and dark­ness, where this cur­rent edition is named af­ter,” says Martin Mark­vard­sen, se­nior brand am­bas­sador for High­land Park. “The Ice Edition is our trib­ute to the Vik­ings’ cre­ativ­ity in com­ing up with their story about the world’s be­gin­nings.”

That story in­volves “ice giants” bat­tling it out against the gods to rule the world, a clas­sic Norse leg­end that is de­scribed in a book­let that comes with this spe­cial lim­ited edition. Its blue glass bot­tle is de­signed to re­flect this myth­i­cal ice realm—the am­ber whisky takes on a mag­i­cal green­ish tinge against the blue—and it sits within a moun­tain-shaped wooden cra­dle with a wooden stop­per.

This sin­gle malt whisky has been aged in first­filled bour­bon casks for 17 years. It’s in­tense, with a 53.9 per cent al­co­hol con­tent by vol­ume, but this is a com­plex and rich whisky. Fresh Amer­i­can oak was added to both ends of the bar­rels, per­me­at­ing the whisky to add to a flavour pro­file that be­gins with fruits such as green ap­ple and pineap­ple, fol­lowed by sweeter hints of pas­sion­fruit and mango with notes of vanilla and lay­ers of peat and smoke. The flavours slowly build on the palate, leav­ing a creamy tex­ture with the lin­ger­ing sweet­ness of smoke and honey in a bal­anced fin­ish.

High­land Park’s Orkney home has an ideal cli­mate for pro­duc­ing such whisky. From its clas­sic 12-year-old whisky to a spe­cial 50-year-old sin­gle malt, the brand is lauded by con­nois­seurs and en­thu­si­asts for its crafts­man­ship and pur­suit of per­fec­tion. High­land Park whiskies have re­ceived a num­ber of pres­ti­gious awards, in­clud­ing its 25-year-old sin­gle malt, which won its cat­e­gory in the 2011 World Whiskies Awards, and its 21-yearold sin­gle malt, named the world’s best sin­gle malt whisky in 2009 at the same awards.

Ice Edition fol­lows the brand’s Norse gods-themed re­lease from a few years ago, the Val­halla Col­lec­tion. Def­i­nitely one for the col­lec­tors, High­land Park has pro­duced just 30,000 bot­tles of Ice Edition, and only 240 bot­tles will be avail­able in Hong Kong.

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