Editor's choice

Highland Park 15 Year Old Viking Heart Whisky

Highland Park from the Orkney Islands in the Outer Hebrides have just emailed me to tell me about their new Highland Park 15 Year Old Viking Heart Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Unusually, it’s bottled in a ceramic bottle reminiscent of the ceramic or earthenware bottles used may years ago in the earlier days of Highland Park Whisky. A question that I am often asked about Highland Park is why are they called Highland Park when they are an Islands Whisky rather than a Highland Whisky?

The answer is simple. They are an “Islands Scotch Whisky” as Orkney is one of the Outer Hebrides on the far flung North Coast of Scotland that bridges the gap between Scotland and Norway. The distillery was built on a green field or park on the high land as the road climbs the hill outside Kirkwall,  the main town on Orkney. Hence the distillery built in the park on the high land outside the village or “Highland Park”.

Highland Park 15 Year Old Viking Heart Whisky. Whiskey Blogger Stuart McNamara

According to their email, their new 15 Year Old Viking Heart Single Malt is …..

“….a wonderfully rich and complex single malt. Opening with rich and spicy aromas of crème brulée, heather honey and crumbled cinnamon, intensely fruity notes follow – fresh pineapple dressed with a scattering of sun-kissed lemon zest. There’s a hint of freshly-baked sponge cake too, warm from the oven, and you’ll find cinnamon again, but toasted shards this time. Citrus and vanilla notes linger in the aromatic waves of peat smoke.

Highland Park 15 Year Old Viking Heart Single Malt Whisky. Whiskey Blogger Stuart McNamara

“To create 15 Year Old Viking Heart, Gordon Motion, our Master Whisky Maker, selected predominantly sherry seasoned European oak casks to deliver warm, spicy notes and sherry seasoned American oak casks to provide a balance of sweet vanilla. Expertly adding just a few refill casks to soften and smooth the flavours, Gordon chose to bottle at 44% ABV to allow the whisky’s vibrant fruitiness and distinctive heathery peat smoke to shine through.

Why a ceramic decanter? Rewind a century or two and our whisky would have been stored in earthenware vessels. Inspired by examples found at our distillery in Orkney, we asked Wade Ceramics if they could work with us to create a modern version. Established in 1810 and based in Stoke-on-Trent in England (known globally as the traditional home of ceramics) Wade share our commitment to environmental responsibility, focusing on sustainable manufacturing and using locally sourced raw materials. The lead-free porcelain decanter is 100% food safe, glazed inside and out, and embossed with the lion and serpent design that appears on many of our glass bottles. Look closely at the back of the bottle and you’ll find the heart motif that inspired this whisky’s name.”

Of note also is that Viking Heart is naturally coloured. More and more of the great whisky companies are going with natural colour in their whiskies. It’s a great stance and may many others follow suit.

Here’s the accompanying video from Gordon Motion, their Master Whisky Maker.


Whiskey Blogger
Whiskey Blogger

Stuart McNamara (@WhiskeyBlogger) is an international Whiskey Blogger who edits several International Whisk(e)y and Whiskey Tourism sites including IrishWhiskey.com and WhiskeyBlogger.com. He is Chair of the Irish Craft And Artisan Distilleries Association (ICADA) and is an elected member of the National Council of ISME, the Irish SME Association. He is also the creator and editor of International Irish Whiskey Day which is celebrated on 3/3 or 3rd March each year and had a global social media reach in 2021 of over 20 Million. He is a Director of Portmagee Whiskey and has also acted as both a brand and product development consultant to several other Irish Whiskey and other spirits producers.

International Whiskey Reviews by Irish Whiskey Blogger Stuart McNamara