Intensely rich, sweet and fragrant, our 2020 edition of Highland Park 50 Year Old reflects its long maturation in refill casks and first-fill sherry seasoned casks to deliver an incredible depth of character and layer upon layer of exceptional flavour.
Follow the link to the film to see Gordon Motion, Master Whisky Maker, guide a tasting of this exceptional whisky, with its delicate aromas of ripe black cherries, sweet muscovado sugar, peaches and rich dark chocolate. Gordon explains the influence of casks on the complex, vibrant and intense flavours of exotic spices, candied orange peel, toasted oak and ripe apricots, all delivering a deliciously rich yet fragrant sweetness and ending on notes of dry spices, dark espresso coffee and aromatic peat smoke.
Cask influence over time
Casks can contribute up to 60% of the flavour of whisky and Orkney’s unusually temperate climate provides the perfect environment for long, slow maturation. Expert cask selection and perfect timing are essential when bringing forward any aged whisky and absolutely critical in a whisky aged for as long as 50 years. This is where Gordon Motion’s skill and expertise come into play.
For our 2020 release, Gordon selected nine refill casks, originally laid down in 1968, for their light, fragrant and delicate flavours and absence of any ‘woody’ notes – a tribute to the gentle influence of refill casks, even over such an extended period of maturation. Gordon married the nine casks together in 2008 and re-racked the whisky into first-fill sherry seasoned oak casks, leaving it to fully absorb the richly sherried flavours of dried fruit and sweet toffee for a further 12 years. In 2020, he selected just one sherry seasoned European oak butt and introduced a small quantity of the whisky it contained to some of our 2018 batch of 50 Year Old (held back specifically for this purpose and containing some of our 2010 batch), to yield just 274 bottles of Highland Park history.