Highland Park Distillery stands on a hill overlooking Kirkwall, Orkney’s main town – on an area of common land long known as the High Park of Rosebank. It proudly describes itself as ‘The Northernmost Scotch Whisky Distillery in the World’. From 1798, illicit whisky had been made here by a local brewer name Mansie. He enjoyed the protection of the Provost of Kirkwall, whose son took over the running the enterprise until 1814, when he was forced to close. In 1813 Rosebank was enclosed, divided into lots and its name changed to Highland Park. Ironically, the lots which contained the distillery were taken up by the local Collector of Excise, john Robertson. Another lot was taken by Robert Borwick. Highland Distillers took full control in 1937 and Highland Park is now part of the Edrington Group.
It first appeared as single malt in the late 1970s, as an eight-year-old, but the packaging was revamped in the 1980s when the 12- and 18-year-old expressions were introduced. It soon built up a strong, even cult, following with the range expanding continually. As well as a core range with age statements, various series have been released themed around Orcadian history and Norse gods.