Rule of three for new malt

Past and present whisky makers create new Highland Park release

Highland Park master whisky makers Gordon Motion (left) John Ramsay and Max McFarlane

MORE than one hundred years of malt-making expertise is behind the latest release from Highland Park, which has been created by three of the distillery’s master whisky makers.

Gordon Motion, Max McFarlane and John Ramsay pooled their respective experience and knowledge to produce Highland Park Triskelion.

Released earlier this month, the expression was created using a combination of first-fill sherry-seasoned Spanish oak butts, first-fill sherry-seasoned American oak casks and first-fill bourbon barrels and hogsheads.

It took us a while to agree on the final flavour profile, but we are very proud of the result.

These three principal cask types were balanced with a small quantity of refill casks to “add a degree of softness to the whisky’s final flavour”.

Bottled at 45.1% ABV, Highland Park Triskelion is described as a naturally-coloured malt, which features a profile of orange peel, apricots, cumin, vanilla and light smoke, with a “lingering sweet”, citrusy and spice aftertaste.

The Triskelion symbol featured on the latest expression is said to represent wisdom and inspiration; in Norse mythology, the Horn Triskelion shows three interlocking horns which is associated with the Mead of Poetry.

Gordon Motion, the distillery’s current master whisky maker, said working with Max MacFarlane (the company’s longest serving master whisky maker) and John Ramsay (who brought 43 years’ experience to the project) was “fun and a real honour”.

“We decided to create an unaged single malt as this gave us complete flexibility to consider a whole range of different cask types, flavour profiles, as well as ages,” said Motion.

“To quote John Ramsay: ‘You don’t need an age statement to deliver real quality.’ It took us a while to agree on the final flavour profile, but we are very proud of the result. It tested our skillset, our craftsmanship, but not our friendship.”