gavin smith

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Highland Park

by Gavin D Smith

Highland Park Distillery
Holm Road
Orkney KW15 1SU

Tel: 01856 874619
Fax: 01856 876091

The distillery is situated on the A961, south of Kirkwall town centre.



The most northerly distillery in Scotland, Highland Park hosts highly regarded guided tours, featuring the rare opportunity to see a working malting floor. Complementary dram and excellent post-tour video, plus well-stocked gift shop and cafe. Tours seven days a week May to August, Monday to Friday April, September and October, one tour only (2pm) Monday to Friday, November to March. There is an admission charge.


One of Scotland's oldest distilleries, Highland Park was established in 1798 by David Robertson. It was constructed on the site where local church officer Magnus Eunson had previously operated an illicit still, hiding kegs of his whisky beneath the church pulpit! From 1826, various members of the Borthwick family ran Highland Park, and in 1895 James Grant, owner of Glenlivet, purchased the distillery. Three years later he doubled capacity by adding a second pair of stills. In 1937 Highland Distilleries (now The Edrington Group) acquired Highland Park, and from 1979 onwards, the company made substantial investments in marketing the single malt, ultimately leading to a high international profile and reputation. In his American Spirit Journal, US drinks writer Paul Pacult went so far as to bestow the extravagant accolade of 'Best Spirit in the World' on Highland Park 18-year-old.


Highland Park is one of a handful of distilleries which still operates its own floor maltings, producing around 20 per cent of its malt requirements. It has two pairs of stills and an annual capacity 2.5 million litres of alcohol. Both ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks are used for maturation.

The Spirit

The 'house style' is medium-bodied, quite sweet, with floral, toffee and fudge notes, plus distinctive peat. The principal expressions currently available are 12, 18, 25 and 30-year-old, and Highland Park is a key component of the Cutty Sark and Famous Grouse blends.

See our Highland Park tasting notes.


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