FOOD: THE ART OF BLENDING
By taking cues from music composition and the contrasting seasons, Highland Park is rewriting rules in the world of whisky.
Highland Park is rewriting the rules in the world of whisky
Nestled on Orkney, an island located at the northernmost in Scotland, whisky distillery Highland Park has been taking the industry by storm of late. For its latest debut, the Scottish distillery takes cues from its wild climate and nods to its distinctive Viking roots. During his recent visit in Hong Kong, Martin Markvardsen, senior ambassador of Highland Park, shares how blending whisky is a lot like arranging a symphony, how their whisky is shaped by the contrasting seasons and why he loves to have a dram in the midst of raging winds.
THE SPLENDOR OF CONTRASTING SEASONS
With inspiration drawn from the contrasting seasons in the Orkney islands and the Viking heritage, The Dark and The Light editions exist in opposition of the spectrum yet harmoniously create a balance.
“The Dark talks about the shortest day of the year, the winter Solstice, where we only get one to two hours of sunlight in Orkney. That day is very important for the Viking and the people of Orkney, as they know that as that day arises, the next day will be longer,” points out Markvardsen.
Matured 100 p per cent in European p Sherry y Casks, the 17-year-old single malt is high on alcohol yet very gentle. Take a sip and a beautiful blend of cinnamon, spices, sweetness, dried fruits and dark chocolate will enrich your tastebuds.
“The Light, on the other hand, marks the longest day of the year, the summer solstice, which is typically on the 22nd of June,” says Markvardsen. Sharing the same age as its counter part, it is matured in refill American oak casks and retains a delicious sweetness delivered through notes of pear, nutmeg and vanilla.
Presented in a jet-black glass and a bespoke pale green glass respectively, both editions have a serpent dragon embossed on the front and feature runic writing, paying tribute to the islands’ Viking ancestry and Nordic heritage.
MUSIC AND WHISKY
For those of you who are fortunate enough to be reading this with a glass of whisky in your hand and some music in the background, take a second to muse on the connection between the tipple and the melody. In many ways, blending whisky is an art form just as complex, meticulous and unpredictable as a painting, music composition or perfumery.
In its latest launch of Full Volume, Highland Park sheds light on the importance of harmony that is acknowledged by both whisky masters and music composers. The essence of this new bottle, according to the Scotland’s most northern whisky distillery, lies in the “balance between flavours and textures of whisky all living in harmony.”
“Full Volume certainly stands apart from what we normally do at Highland Park, which is mostly inspired by our Viking roots,” says Markvardsen. The launch, an emotion-driven concept, took flight from a conversation between the brand’s whisky master, and songwriter and music producer Saul Davies, who created a piece of music exclusively for the blend. “The inspiration is about handcrafted music and [going] back to basics. The concept of this blend starts with one note and one instrument, and then build on top of that,” adds Markvardsen.
A single malt distilled in 1999 and matured exclusively in first-fill ex-bourbon casks, Highland Park Full Volume delivers a light peaty aroma punctuated with warm fruity notes of mango and pineapple. The packaging of the blend nods to oldfashioned guitar amplifiers, with the dials on the side indicating the different measures of Bourbon, peat, vanilla and fruit flavours.
WHISKY DRINKING, REDEFINED
As the brand ambassador of Highland Park, former boxing champion Markvardsen knows a thing or two about the unique ways to enjoy whisky. “On the Orkney, there’s a very special place called The Cliffs of Yesneby, which is located on the west part of the island. Imagine the edge of the world – it is one of the few places in the world where they measure the highest wind speed every year,” highlights Markvardsen. “To go there when the wind is heavy and to have a dram of Highland Park simply enthralls you amidst the wilderness of nature.”
On the upcoming projects of the brand, the Scottish distillery welcomes pioneering collaborations. “We have had various crossovers previously with Michelinstarred restaurants, coffee labels and now with music producers. Going forward we want to break more rules by partnering with people such as tattoo artists,” says Markvardsen, who happens to have the logo of Highland Park tattooed over his heart.
04 The packaging of full volume nods to an old-fashioned guitar amplifiers. 05 Martin Markvardsen is affiliated with The Danish Malt Whisky Academy and became Keeper of the Quaich in 2009.