Highland Park Scotch is amazing and so is the story of the ownership of Highland Park (we only have so much space so we are focusing on Highland Park’s ownership). As many of you may know, a certain percentage of the Scots have never been happy about the unification of England and Scotland (Scotland finally became part of the United Kingdom when James VI of Scotland became James I of England upon the death of his cousin Queen Elizabeth I and were so happy when the Stuarts were later deposed from the English crown). After unification, England heavily taxed Scottish Whiskey and a favorite past-time of the Scots became moonshining (a hobby that many a Scotsman later took to the United States). It was against this backdrop that Highland Park was founded in 1798 by Magnus Eunson, a local butcher, gadfly and rumored founder of Highland Park.
Magnus Eunson was later arrested for moonshining but never tried. By 1818, Robert Borwick and his son-in-law John Robertson (Eunson’s arresting tax officer) purchased the distillery and Magnus Eunson disappeared for the rest of eternity. Interestingly enough, it appears that the Robertson family still owns Highland Park through the Edrington Group (and the Robertson Family Trust). The Edrington Group was founded by three sisters in 1961 (the descendants of the Borwicks and Robertsons) to ensure the preservation and promotion of Scotch Whiskey and to provide charitable contributions to the community. Fifty years later, we have to say that the Robertson sisters through the Edrington Group and the Robertson Trust have done an amazing jobs at their stated goals – preservation of Scotch Whiskey (and the production of amazing Whiskey) and charity!
Visually, the Highland Park was clear with a medium minus light topaz to gold color. A beautiful complex nose with a medium plus, aged intensity of dried apricot, raisin, fig, honey, heather, malted grain, salt (sea breeze), oak, caramel, wax and peat. On the palate, a perfect integration of spirit, wood and alcohol with an intense flavor of dried apricot and figs, raisins, grain, honey, heather, an ethereal salty brininess and a hint of peat. Layers of flavor and complexity on the front and mid-palate. Long finish. Highland Park 18 screams seaside and maritime production. Exceptional (this is our highest rating and the first spirit to achieve it).