Auction: SC002 - Pouring Gold For A Platinum Year - Spink in association with Cask 88: Whisky - e-Auction
Distillery: Whitlaw/Secret Orkney
Age: 13 years
Distillation Date: 5th May 2009
Cask type: Refill Bourbon Hogshead
Peated?: Lightly Peated
Re-gauge ABV: 59.0%
Re-gauged Litres of Alcohol (RLA): 134.5 litres
New bulk litres: 228.0 litres
Re-gauge Date: November 2020
Cask Number: 1016
A Much-Loved Island Malt Whose Distillation Marks a Milestone for Prince Phillip
Owners Edrington have built up excellent relationships with suppliers of both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, and have a system of selection to ensure that it is only the best-in-class casks that hold spirit from distilleries within its portfolio. The mellowed honey notes from patient hogshead maturation get deeper over time.
It is worth considering that this distillery has demonstrated time and time again that their whisky can benefit from an extremely long maturation without having to sacrifice strength; We have seen a pair of 40 year old expressions were released both with an ABV approaching 50%.
The water used in the production of this spirit is drawn from Cattie Maggie's Spring, half a mile away from the distillery - it is held in a disused Walliwall quarry before being piped to the distillery. This spring provided an oasis for generations of distillers on Orkney well before the establishment of an official distillery.
The peat used is cut from the Hobbister Moor, a stretch of land maintained by the distillery. The lack of trees on Orkney encourages the peat to form mostly from heather, giving the spirit a distinctly floral and heathery smokiness. Projections based on current usage show that this source of peat is likely to last for a further 300 years.
The distillery manager when this cask was filled was Russell Anderson, whose career in whisky began over 40 years ago, in 1978, at The Glenrothes distillery. He enjoyed a brief spell on Orkney from 1995 - 1998 and then returned as distillery manager in 2000 where he remained for 12 years, before moving on to become distillery manager for Macallan.
"I will always have a special place in my heart for Highland Park and of course it is a great dram!"
- Russell Anderson 2012
This distillery is one of only seven in Scotland to still make partial use of its own floor malting - an impressive achievement considering the significant production capacity of 2.5 million litres of alcohol per year, and the fact that 20% is still malted in this traditional fashion.
In addition to the unique spirit of this distillery, their modernised approach to marketing has allowed them to permeate into further markets. An example of this is an increase in non age statement whisky, and the renaming of their core range with reference to the Vikings who settled on Orkney: An elegant way of incorporating Orkney's rich history into the modern era.
Buyer's note: Whitlaw is a pseudonym for a secret Orkney distillery. When bottled, the label may refer to the distillery's brand name in this way: "distilled at Highland Park distillery', as long as it's not overly prominent.
If the 1990s were a time of recovery and reinvention, then the following decade provided the ideal conditions for growth - for both the British monarchy and the Scotch whisky industry. Economic recession and distillery closures in the preceding two decades were a drastic setback for the industry, from which it bounced back in the 2000s, as distilleries started opening in great numbers up and down Scotland.
The decade began darkly for HM Queen Elizabeth, with the deaths of her sister Princess Margaret and, shortly after, her mother in February and March 2002 respectively. Her Golden Jubilee, celebrating her half-century on the British throne, came quickly on the heels of this period of mourning. The Queen was greeted with an outpouring of public support, in recognition of her role not only as a head of state unfailingly dedicated to her public duty, but also a loving daughter, sister, mother and grandmother.
In April 2009, mere weeks before our Whitlaw cask was filled, Prince Philip became the longest-serving British royal consort, another timely reminder of our Queen's dual responsibility to the state and family and a celebration of the man who was a source of great support, joy and comfort to HM The Queen throughout her reign.