Winter Solstice on 21st December marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year and, for our Viking ancestors, heralded the festival of Jul. Celebrated from 20th to 31st December with feasts and celebrations, Jul is the source of many of our own Christmas – or ‘Yule’ – traditions.
Midwinter at Maeshowe
Maeshowe on Orkney’s Mainland is one of the most spectacular places in the world from which to witness Winter Solstice. This Neolithic burial chamber was built around 2800BC and, for a few precious weeks during midwinter, the sun sets over the Barnhouse Stone – a solitary monolith standing nearby – to send a shaft of light directly through the tomb’s narrow entrance tunnel, dramatically filling the entire chamber with light. It’s an incredible sight to behold and although we will never know the exact purpose of the alignment of Maeshowe and the Barnhouse Stone, the skill of the Neolithic architects and builders who created this remarkable piece of heritage cannot be denied.
Celebrating THE DARK
Last year, we released THE DARK 17 Year Old. Along with THE LIGHT 17 Year Old, it highlights our contrasting island seasons here in Orkney, the stories of our Viking ancestors and the intense balance of our whisky.
As its name suggests, THE DARK celebrates autumn and winter in Orkney. A time to escape from the wild weather outside and gather together with friends and family to share long nights of conversation and laughter around the fire. A time to catch up with loved ones and share hospitality, stories and dreams; a time for reflection, for taking stock, for celebrating life.
Matured in European sherry seasoned casks to deliver a distinctively deep flavour, THE DARK is packed with dried fruits, nuts and spices, overlaid with hints of smoky peat. Naturally deep russet in colour, it’s a rich and powerful expression of Highland Park and the perfect dram to enjoy right through the darker winter months.