Highland Park Earl Magnus


Thanks to Ran for the sample.

An age statement and a story on the same expression, that’s not something we see very much of these days. This was released in 2009 as a really limited bottling, named after a well-liked 12th century ruler of the Isle of Orkney who was betrayed and murdered by his cousin.

Highland park really went all out with this one and had a bottle specially made in the same way they were made 150 years ago with a label reminiscent of that time too. But what intrigues me is how is the whisky that comes along with the story and fancy packaging, so let’s get to it.

Aged 15 years. 52.6% ABV. Matured in American oak. Non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength.

Nose: Rich nutty wood. Brown glue. Plum wine. Orange cake. Jam biscuits. Vanilla caramel. Very subtle but present sandalwood.

Palate: Leather. Dusty books. Dry, sweet wood. Oranges. Ruby grapefruit. Slightly earthy. Bitter wood and green herbs on the swallow.

Finish: Medium. Very salty. Toffee. Plums. Bitter wood. Woodspice.

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes


This was a really lovely expression, completely different from any contemporary Highland Park I’ve tried. It felt kind of like an older style whisky, rough, dirty and rich. Very big on complexity and a very dynamic palate, with the flavours constantly developing. Absolutely stunning.

I added some water too, just a few drops,it really opened up the sandalwood in the nose up but muted some complexity on the palate, best drunk as is.


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