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Issue 81 - The spirit of Orkney

Whisky Magazine Issue 81
July 2009


This article is 8 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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The spirit of Orkney

The owners of Highland Park are building on the distillery's heritage and shaping up for a glittering future. Dominic Roskrow finds out what's being lined up.

Magic malt moments are to whisky enthusiasts what spotting a rare bird is to an ornithologist or catching a prize salmon is to a keen angler.

Such moments come sporadically and often with no warning, but when they happen they construct lifelong memories and feed bar conversations for years to come.

For whisky lovers such moments might be as simple as sipping a Speyside on a smuggler's trail at sunset, or spotting a school of dolphins with the taste of peat in the mouth on Islay. It might result from something as simple as a snatched conversation with the distiller,who happens to come by during a tour, or from tasting an aged whisky straight from the cask with a close group of friends.

You can't plan such moments and they often involve a great deal of luck. But just as experienced birdwatchers and expert anglers create their own luck by being in the right place in the hope that it'll be the right time, so it is with whisky magic. And if ever there were a right place, then the Highland Park distillery is it. A sip of 18-year-old as the light fades at the Ring of Brodgar, the damp early spring chill as the first peat of the season is cut on the hills high above the distillery, a glass of malt as the wind whips up waves in Scapa Flow...all provide the potential for a special memory.

At this moment, though, the magic is coming from a small rectangular window in a room high up on a storage floor in the distillery's maltings. To get here we have climbed an external staircase, en...

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