Whisky Focus - Highland Park 50 Year Old 2020 Edition

Highland Park 50 Year Old 2020 Edition

25th March 2021
This latest Highland Park 50 Year Old expression is the third 50 year old single malt whisky released by the Orkney distillery, created using their Solera style system.

Highland Park 50 Year Old 2020 Edition

Highland Park today unveiled its new 50 Year Old expression, this is the third Highland Park 50 Year Old to be released from the Orkney distillery, interestingly this latest expression is linked to the first two 50 year old releases by more than its age, as Highland Park has created all of the 50 year old expressions using a Solera style system to mature the whisky. You will note that it has been bottled in 2020, probably another release which has been a little delayed because of Covid but if my experience of older Highland Park whiskies are anything to go by I am sure it will have been worth the wait.

The Solera system they use to mature the 50 year old is a system which is best known as a method of maturing Sherry, they take a small quantity of the whisky produced from a previous batch and marry it together with the new whisky, continuing a legacy within a legacy.

This latest Highland Park 50 Year Old expression is a combination nine refill casks, originally laid down back in 1968, married together 40 years later in 2008 then re-racked into a handful of the first-fill sherry seasoned oak casks. Then, after a further 12 years of maturation, one of these limited casks was selected and married with a small quantity of the whisky from the last 50 Year Old released by the distillery.

Gordon Motion, Highland Park, Master Whisky Maker, said: "This 50 Year Old whisky is one of our oldest and rarest releases and Im very proud to have been a part of its journey.

"The whisky is spectacular, when I sampled the whisky from the re-racked casks, the whisky it contained aged for a little over 50 years had absorbed the rich sherried flavours of dried fruit and sweet toffee from its final first-fill cask maturation, but still retained all the delicate fragrance and flavours driven by the original refill casks.

"I introduced a small quantity of this cask to some of our 2018 batch of 50 Year Old, which Id held back specifically for this purpose, to create a further layer of depth and complexity. As the 2018 50 Year Old also contains some of our 2010 batch of 50 Year Old our first in the series - this approach allows me to maintain the core DNA of our oldest Highland Park whisky through each extremely limited batch release."

Presented in a hand-made wooden box, crafted from walnut by Scottish Master Craftsman, John Galvin, the whisky is encased in an embossed heavy-weight glass bottle featuring a design inspired by the Norse heritage of our Orkney island home, which dates back over 1200 years. Decorated in intricately decorated metal, encasing a hand-crafted crystal decanter and leather-bound book detailing the story of the 50 Year Old whisky completes the presentation.

The new Highland Park 50 Year Old has been bottled at 43.8% ABV, it is a limited release of 274 bottles and as you can imagine you will need deep pockets if you want to taste this one, it has a RRP of 20,000 and it will be available from specialist online whisky retailers  such as The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt

Highland Park 50 Year Old 2020 Edition Review

Producer's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Intensely rich, sweet and fragrant.

Taste: Black cherries, muscovado sugar, peaches socked in alcohol, dark chocolate, exotic spices, candied orange peel, roasted oak, ripe apricots, espresso coffee, light peat smoke.

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