This year, Highland Park – the northernmost distillery in Scotland, based in Kirkwall, Orkney – went through a major overhaul; rebranded its core lineup and introduced new expressions, such as Valkyrie, Full Volume and etc, along with new series for the whisky enthusiasts.

The latest edition to be introduced is the Highland Park 17 The Dark which will be the first expression of a two bottle limited edition series – similar to Fire and Ice. This new series will be ‘part of the diptych that celebrates the seasons on the Isle of Orkney, home of the Highland Park distillery’. First bottle, ‘Dark’, focuses on Autumn and Winter whereas the next one, named ‘Light’, will focus on Spring and Summer and be offered in early 2018.

Regarding the release, Jason R. Craig, brand director for Highland Park, said:

“Both editions share the story of the contrasting seasons of our Orkney islands and the resulting intense balance of Highland Park whisky.”

The Dark comes in a black bottle adorned with an embossed dragon entwined around two suns.

Highland Park 17 The Dark is a 17-year-old single malt that has been matured in sherry casks. It is limited to 28.000 bottles and comes at 52.9% ABV. It is available from The Whisky Exchange website with a price tag of  £190.

Highland Park 17 The Dark Whisky Tasting Notes

Color: Coppery gold to light amber…

Nose: Overall light nose. Sweet and spice dominant aromas. Cinnamon is the main spice whereas clover backs it up. Some dried fruits; sultanas, berries, and figs add the sweetness. Little bits of wood notes, like resins from a pine tree at the back. The smoke is very faint, almost like coming from a hay fire.

Palate: Follows a similar pattern to the nose but this time a little bit darker and bitter. Cinnamon still keeps its dominance. Dark berries and chocolate covered orange dragee is the sweet factor. A little bit of nuttiness. Smoke is not strong but still noticeable. Dry oak and fresh ground coffee add bitterness near the end.

Finish: Medium to a long finish. Dry and bitter aftertaste with almost no sweetness.

Sherry casked matured smoky whisky seems like the winning recipe for The Highland Park. The company has been releasing various expressions following the same route and most of them have been welcomed by the enthusiasts. I also like these expressions but in my humble opinion what makes this recipe better is the age component. 17 Years of maturation really makes a difference in the final products and offers a smoother, more enjoyable spirit.

Unfortunately, the pricing will be the main issue here for the enthusiasts. Other than that, I enjoyed this dram and recommend to all ‘sweet and spice’ lovers…