Whisky Focus - Highland Park 1964 Orcadian Vintage Series

Highland Park 1964 Orcadian Vintage Series

9th November 2009
This extremely rare Highland Park whisky has been created from only two casks, specifically chosen by Max McFarlane for their exceptional character. Cask 8737 and 8738 were combined together to create only 290 bottles at 42.2% ABV.

When laying down a whisky for extended maturation, such as this 1964 Vintage, it is important that the cask doesn’t dominate the spirit. If first fill casks had been used, the sweetness (an oak-derived additive quality from the cask) would have been too strident. Both the casks used to create this Vintage, were refill hogsheads which had been previously used to mature whisky prior to 1964.

The refill casks used to create this vintage have allowed the quality and delicate fragrance of the original new make spirit to shine through without being dominated by the wood notes.

The fragrance comes from hand-turned malt which has been dried over Orkney’s aromatic heather-based peat. In addition, the peaceful, drawn out maturation the whisky has enjoyed in Orkney’s cool climate has resulted in remarkable elegance.

The long-term maturation of this 1964 Vintage has allowed a perfect balance to be achieved. The colour, as with all bottlings of Highland Park, is entirely natural; the delicate coppery paleness of the whisky is down to the judicious use of refill casks. The strength (alcohol by volume), like the colour, is entirely natural.

The Orcadian Vintage Series is easily recognisable as it is bottled in black glass. The bottle shape echoes that of Highland Park 40 year old, slightly bell-bottomed and with a heavy base.

A silver amulette is set into the glass indicating that this is a prestigious variant of Highland Park. The hand-tooled silver top is a fitting craftsman’s closure and features Viking knotwork.

The 1964 Vintage is the rarest expression of the Orcadian Vintage Series with only 290 bottles being released, as indicated on the understated label.

Highland Park 1964 Tasting Notes

Released November 2009 this 45 year old single malt was bottled at a cask strength of 42.2% ABV and has a RRP of £3750
  • Colour: A delightfully rich, russet hue with exemplary clarity and brightness.
  • Nose: At full strength, the 1964 Vintage is redolent of toasted oak, dried strawberries and shellac with a generous coating of beeswax. When reduced, toasted toffee and smouldering bonfire embers come to the fore, followed by beguiling notes of gingerbread, sandalwood and cinnamon bark.
  • Palate: Unreduced, this expression has the delicious sweetness associated with Highland Park but combined with a fascinating spiciness; crushed black pepper, crème brûlée and toasted vanilla pod add to the complexity. The addition of water reintroduces the toasted oak initially encountered on the nose accompanied by distinctive hints of applewood smoked cheddar, vanilla sponge and paprika.
  • Finish: Rich, long, lingering spiciness completes the sensational tasting experience of this venerable single malt.

Highland Park Orcadian Vintage Series Tasting Notes & Info

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