Whisky Advocate

New Highland Park “Earl Magnus Edition 1”

December 16th, 2009

Here’s the latest from Highland Park. Another cask strength offering. That’s the good news. The bad news? Once again, all of us here in the U.S. are denied the chance to purchase it. Maybe we can have the next cask-strength, limited edition offering be a US-only release? Seems only fair.


The internationally acclaimed and award winning distillery, Highland Park announces the launch of its latest premium single malt whisky, The Earl Magnus Edition 1 – a perfectly-balanced natural strength bottling taken from hand selected casks from the turn of the last century.

HP Earl Magnus RGB 72dpiThis limited edition expression provides lovers of this award winning single malt liquid with the opportunity to experience or collect a very distinct bottling that captures a time in history through its tasting and the story that is told.

The bottling celebrates the life of Earl Magnus, an 11th century Christian; a man of peace and great authority who shared the rule of the Orkney Earldom with his   treacherous cousin Haakon.  Envious at the increasing popularity of his cousin, matters between the two reached a crisis and in a bitter twisted rivalry, Haakon had his cousin slaughtered.  Magnus’s body was laid to rest on Egilsy and later at Birsay it was said that miracles of healing were experienced around his tomb.

The story is legendary as is the new edition from Highland Park.  Bottled at 52.6% abv this unique 15 year old full natural strength expression delivers a beautiful balance of ginger and lemon notes, cumulating with delicate aromatic blends of ginger and vanilla, combined with the signature heather peat smokiness of Highland Park.  Distinct in taste, the bottling and gift box combines current artisan design elements of the classic Highland Park style and these have been skilfully maintained and blended with historic drawings taken from preserved archive bottles at the Highland Park distillery. 

Key design elements include the composition of the light brown glass itself.  With natural looking flaws, bubbles and an unusual orange peel texture the glass making reflects the techniques used over 150 years ago. 

The bespoke light brown glass bottle is offset with an archive inspired label that depicts Earl Magnus in a stained glass window.  It is sealed with a black stopper, coated in black wax stamped with the classic Highland Park ‘H’.  Stoelze Flaconnage, the specialist bottle makers have created this ancient looking bottle that consumers can keep long after the liquid has been savoured.

The bottle is presented in an open window wooden gift box that is simple in design and etched with modern Highland Park branding and the historic tale of Earl Magnus – the story of his remarkable life, how he came to his brutal and tragic death and how years later his life was eternally remembered through his canonisation and the building of St Magnus cathedral, a magnificent structure that stands not far from the distillery – the home of Highland Park.

Jason Craig, Global Controller of Highland Park, said: “Orkney has a wonderful and magical heritage born out of an incredibly colourful history; with troubles, strife, heroism and a lasting legacy of historical structures and ancient and mysterious standing circles on our island.  We hope our Highland Park drinkers and collectors will love this limited edition bottling that captures a period of remarkable history, delivers a full strength 15 year old and is big on flavour and aroma which is succinct and distinguished in taste.”

Earl Magnus Edition 1 will be available from late December in the UK from specialist independent whisky retailers throughout the UK, the Highland Park distillery and at a RRP of £85.00.

16 Responses to “New Highland Park “Earl Magnus Edition 1””

  1. Mark says:

    John, will you get to taste this? I hope so for your sake (my holiday well wishes to you, sir).

    This HP has been coming to mind since I read about it this morning…

  2. OK, this is me rubbing it in.
    Just opened my bottle of Hjarta, and enjoying it with the latest issue of Malt Advocate, wich arrived today.
    My point: Living in Scandinavia was benefitial at this point, but isn’t allways. Prices on a lot of goods are lower in the US and as you are a big market, you get access to products I have to pay premium shipping to get my hands on, if at all.
    Your problem is; that in spite of being a big market, you don’t buy enough of Scotch Malt Whisky to justify the cost of selling it. Sorry

  3. John Hansell says:

    Mark, yes, they’re sending me a small review sample. I look forward to tasting it.

    Torgeir, I don’t think it has as much to do with how much we buy, but rather all the damned red tape and paperwork to sell whisky here in the U.S. Each state is like a different country when it comes to labeling requirements and fees.

  4. Danny says:

    The bottle was available in Holland last Month but for a far lower price. Around 55 Euro’s per bottle (about 83 US or 45 UK) It sold out pretty quick as you can imagine.

  5. bgulien says:

    Not in my part of Holland. I recently (this morning) bought 2 Earl Magnusses, and there were still 6 bottles left.
    Sold in a big supermarket chain. I guess that they bought the Dutch consignment, because my normal retailer had never heard of it, till I told him.
    Because of the limited nature of the bottle, only 5976 bottles filled, there should be very few left. And they go for a premium price, I guess. (like £85).

  6. patrick says:

    I tasted it 2 weeks ago and it is a fine dram. Selling out very quickly everywhere in Switzerland. I will try to pos my tasting notes very soon

  7. […] in the UK. This absolutely gorgeous looking bottle got some coverage on the Edinburgh Whisky,  What Does John Know, and Whisky Intelligence […]

  8. Euan says:

    Sounds like a good one John. Do you know if this Highland Park will be in Duty Free? We had a great run of Highland Park single casks in the US a few years back, I tasted some outstanding casks that went to Oklahoma, Binnys, and Old Oaks. I wish Highland Park would do this again.

  9. John Hansell says:

    Euan, I haven’t heard anything about Duty Free. And yes, we did have a great run of single casks. Some, which I still am working my way through, were outstanding!

  10. bgulien says:

    A gripe!! ;-0 What to do with the wooden crate, the Earl Magnus comes in, when the bottle is empty?
    I have no open fire heating, so I have to slaughter the crate.
    HP, please just sell the bottle for a few euros/dollars/pounds less and forget the woodwork.
    The whisky is really superb!!!

  11. Adam says:

    Ohh, I want one of these very badly, but I’m in the U.S. =(

    If anyone out there in in the mood to send me a Christmas present though…;-)

  12. John Hansell says:

    Whoever gets one for Adam, buy two! I’ll take one too!

  13. Olaf says:

    Just got one for Christmas from my dad in law. He got it from a Dutch chain called Dirk III. Said it was a special offer, still the last or only bottle at that shop in Amsterdam North. Just sampled my first dram… i must say, perfect. Have to admit that i’m a big fan of HP. Still, i like it even more than the 18y. My advice, if you find it, buy it.

  14. Ian Guenard says:

    For those in the US willing to head up north to Canada, I just purchased a bottle for 125 $ in Quebec at a provincial SAQ Selections store. I’m tasting it right now, and totally agree with the lemon, ginger aromas. I’d add belgian white chocolate and peachseed.

  15. Andrew says:

    Have they been sitting in them or something lol. It’s been sold out at many places. Suddenly there are 75 of them accross Quebec. Just bought one myself 🙂

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