- DISTILLER: Highland Park
- MASH BILL: 100% Malted Barley
- AGE: NAS – No Age Statement
- YEAR: 2017
- PROOF: 80 (40% ABV)
- MSRP: $39.99 (only available in North America)
- BUY ONLINE: Wine-Searcher.com
NOSE: Leather | Mild Oak | Classic Orkney Peat
TASTE: Malt | Mild Berry | Floral Earthy Peat | Honey
FINISH: The finish is on the flat side and is rather quick to dissipate. It consists primarily of earthy peat with a wisp of smoke. The anticipated vanillas seem to be most prominent here as well.
SHARE WITH: Friends you like, but aren’t necessarily trying to impress. If those friends are already fans of Highland Park, they’ll want to try it. For those unfamiliar with Highland Park, or peated whiskies in general, this could be a good introduction. Keep in mind, Orkney peat is just different… it’s much softer and more floral than the medicinal / band-aid profile of an Ardbeg or Laphroaig.
WORTH THE PRICE: For $39.00, you’re going to get a decent taste of what Highland Park has to offer. This is far from their best offering, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Thinking positively, there are plenty of scotch whiskies you’ll pay $39 a pour for at the bar, and here, you’ll get roughly 12 two oz pours for the same price… and you get to keep the fancy bottle as a souvenir.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: I don’t know how many bars will stock this, but if you happen to see it and are curious about it, get a pour first to see if it’s worth it to you. But again, $39 is a reasonable price if you decide to pick up a bottle. I will say, while a sample was provided for this review, I had already purchased a bottle of my own.
OVERALL: It’s not the most robust Highland Park I’ve ever tried, but certainly presents a reasonable entry point to begin exploring the line. While they state that a ‘high proportion’ of first-fill Sherry seasoned American oak casks are used in the maturation, for my preferences, they didn’t use enough. But then again, more sherry casks would translate into a higher retail price, and I think that would defeat the purpose of this release in the first place.
Now don’t get me wrong, while this isn’t my favorite from Highland Park, it’s pretty tasty and could make for a solid ‘daily drinker’. Think of it as a HP12 “Light”… it has a similar profile, but just not as mature and complex. Like I mentioned earlier, when I first saw this on the shelves at my local liquor shop, I picked one up sight unseen. I’m a big fan of HP and currently have opened bottles of the 12 Yr, 15 Yr, 18 Yr, and Dark Origins, and I have no regrets adding this one to my bar.
While I drank this sample neat, those of us who also enjoy a few fingers poured over ice should have no qualms about doing so with Magnus. While I personally don’t think I could bring myself to pour the 18 Year over ice, I don’t think you’ll ruffle any feathers enjoying a glass of this one on the rocks or in a cocktail. In fact, while perusing the Highland Park website, I ran across this recipe for a “Bold Fashioned” and I will definitely be giving it a try in the near future.
A whisky crafted in the old way by a new generation of Vikings, MAGNUS bears the soul of our Viking ancestors and the name of just one – our founder, Magnus Eunson.
Magnus Eunson was a direct descendant of the Vikings who settled on Orkney hundreds of years ago. He set up his illicit still in a bothy (a small stone hut) at High Park, Kirkwall that’s still the site of our distillery today. And, while we say Highland Park was founded in 1798, in truth that’s just the year that the authorities caught up with Magnus – he was certainly making whisky before
We stay true to our founder’s bold and uncompromising approach to whisky making – very little has changed here in the last 220 years. In MAGNUS, we celebrate this unbroken tradition with a single malt whisky, matured in Sherry seasoned American oak casks, that delivers notes of sweet vanilla, overlaid with our distinctive aromatic smokiness.
NATURAL CASK-DRIVEN COLOUR (NO ADDITIVES)
Light golden, clear and bright (average colour tint 11.0)
Lemon | Vanilla sponge cake | Caramelised pineapple | Aromatic peat smoke | Sweet violets
Disclaimer: Highland Park provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.