Highland Park
1978 Vintage
Whisky type
Single Malt
Highland Park Distillery
Island, Scotland
Year launched/bottled
In collection

Review by Highland Park


Burnished gold, clear and bright


Cedar wood, spicy cinnamon bark and camphor. Cloudy honey with hints of ripe melon and lemon peel


Rich and spicy. Sweet marinated stem ginger, toasted wood, and hints of jasmine


Long sweet with lingering spices


Released in April 2011, Highland Park 1978 Vintage is a traditionally hand-crafted single malt which bears the hallmark of its Viking heritage, and complements the existing variety of single malts in the collection.

The sixth release in the popular range, this limited edition expression, builds on the superb quality of its Vintage Collection created exclusively for travel retail.

Based in Orkney, Highland Park has drawn from the islands’ associations with Viking travellers in the design of this new expression. The inspiration comes from five unusual Norse woodcarvings topped by mythical creatures with snarling mouths discovered on an archaeological dig in Norway in 1904.

With direct reference to its Viking heritage, the front of the 1978 Vintage presentation box features a beast’s head with bared teeth and wide eyes. The back of the head and neck are covered with a series of birdlike figures intertwined in an elaborate pattern. The original carving is a masterpiece attributed to a craftsman nicknamed ‘the Academician’ which demonstrates the skill of the Viking woodcarvers.

Highland Park 1978 Vintage is clear, bright and burnished gold in colour. On the nose it evokes cedar wood, spicy cinnamon bark and camphor with the sweetness of honey and hints of ripe melon and lemon peel. On the palate it is rich and spicy with notes of marinated stem ginger, toasted wood and hints of jasmine. The finish is long and sweet with lingering spiciness.

The new expression sits alongside the existing range which comprises whiskies from 1998, 1994, 1990, 1973 and now 1978. The differentiation between the expressions has been achieved through subtle variations in the use of first-fill and refill European and American oak casks which determine the character of each whisky.

The younger vintages in the Vintage Collection are bottled at 40%. However, Max McFarlane, Whisky Maker at Highland Park, has opted for a higher-strength on this expression which is bottled at 47.8% ABV, a reminder of the complexity that Highland Park is able to deliver.

Source: Maxxium