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
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.