Highland Park serves up the TRISKELION, a whisky created by three masters with over 100 years of experience
Magnus Eunson, was a direct descendant of Vikings who settled in the Scottish archipelago of Orkney over 1,000 years ago. A butcher and church officer by day and a bootlegger and smuggler by night, Eunson set up an illegal whisky-making operation at a little bothy (or stone hut) at High Park, overlooking Kirkwall.
It is still the site of the distillery today and although the brand says Highland Park was founded in 1798, that’s actually the year the authorities finally caught up with Eunson.
Few trees survive the gale-force winds on Orkney. This makes the island peat woodless and rich in heather. This then helps create the trademark the drink’s flavor profile of aromatic smoky peat and sweet heather honey.
This year, its newest edition, the Triskelion, takes after the whisky maker’s Viking roots. The Triskelion symbol represents wisdom and inspiration, and the Horn Triskelion shows three interlocking horns which is associated with the Mead of Poetry in Norse mythology.
This magic mead symbolized wisdom and poetic inspiration and was contained in three precious horns guarded by the giantess Gunnloo. All three horns were drunk by the Norse god, Odin, but a few drops spilled into the mortal world and were believed to inspire scholars.
Similarly, the new edition is a three-headed collaboration of whisky masters Gordon Motion, Max McFarlane, and John Ramsay, who have more than 100 years of experience of drink craftsmanship between them.
The Triskelion was created using a combination of First-fill sherry seasoned Spanish oak butts, First-fill sherry seasoned American oak casks, and First-fill bourbon barrels and hogsheads.
These three principal cask types were balanced with a small quantity of refill casks to add a degree of softness to the whisky’s final flavor. Its aroma is a mixture of Seville oranges, coriander seeds, crème brûlée, cloudy honey, lightly peated with a hint of rose. Its taste profile, on the other hand, is of orange peel, apricots, cumin, vanilla, and light smoke all leaving a lingering sweet, citrusy, and spicy aftertaste.
FUN WITH FRIENDS
“It was fun and a real honor to work again with John and Max,” Motion, Highland Park’s current whisky master who has 21 years of service to date, says.
“We decided to create an unaged single malt as this gave us complete flexibility to consider a whole range of different cask types, flavor profiles as well as ages,” he continues.
“To quote John Ramsay ‘ You don’t need an age statement to deliver real quality,’ ” says Motion, citing the master whisky maker emeritus who retired in 2009. Ramsay worked in the industry for 43 years.
McFarlane, meanwhile, was highland’s longest serving Master Whisky Maker, who had just retired from Edrington. A skilled sensory analyst with a superb nose, he has over the course of 44 years.
“It took us a while to agree on the final flavour profile, but we are very proud of the result,” Motion says. “It tested our skill set, our craftsmanship but not our friendship!”