Highland Park, the renowned Orkney-based distillery, recently launched its oldest whisky to date – the 54-Year-Old single malt Scotch whisky, and we at Numéro Netherlands had the honor of being there for the event. The launch was celebrated in style with a spectacular Highland Park ‘Unexpected Contrasts’ event at the Trinity Buoy Wharf in London truly a night to remember! 

As night fell, we gathered at the docks and awaited our ride for the evening. While we boarded, we were welcomed with a cocktail, canapés, and the Senior Whisky Brand Ambassador Martin Markvardsen, who began to share the distillery’s heritage with us as we sipped on the 18-Year Old Highland Park whisky. The boat’s rocking added to the ambiance as we learned about the rugged Orkney Islands where the whisky is crafted.

When leaving the boat and walking over the bridge, the historic lighthouse in London attracted us with bright lights that gave a magical glow over the area in front of us. As we approached the building, a bright projection illuminated its façade, teasing us with a glimpse of what awaited us beyond the closed doors. 

As the doors creaked open, we were transported into a forest-themed wonderland – the sounds of nature surrounding us, and flickering lights adding to the scene. Martin, our guide through this adventure, welcomed us back taking us through our journey what turned out to be our exploration into making our very own cocktail served with our dessert later that evening. 

We started by picking our own ice – people who know me, know that I am very clumsy and shouldn’t be trusted with anything sharp, so it’s safe to say they would stay far away from me demolishing ice with a pick. But thankfully, we had amazing guidance, and I managed to actually make something good out of it. As we chipped away at the ice, Martin entertained us with stories of Highland Park’s unique use of Orkney Peat, which gives their whisky its distinct color and floral taste. 

After, we were handed rustic wooden baskets with antique-looking scissors. Now, when it comes to foraging for cocktail ingredients, let’s just say I’m no expert. But there I was, wandering around, surrounded by the right ambiance, with the sounds, smells, and even fog, all transporting me to the rugged and untamed landscapes of Orkney. Luckily for us, there were experts with us, who guided us through and saved us from the potential disaster of mixing up the wrong herbs, making sure our cocktails would be a success.

As we made our way to the dining area, we were greeted by a massive wooden table carved from a single block of wood, with a projection above showcasing the rugged beauty of Orkney tied to each course. The Scottish/West Indian Chef James Cochran and his team did not disappoint with their culinary creations. Each course was a tribute to the land that produced the whisky, with ingredients that tasted like they were plucked straight from the land. And the cocktails! They were a work of art themselves – unexpected and bold, they perfectly complemented the flavors of each dish.

As the night drew to a close, we were treated to the pièce de résistance – a tasting of Highland Park’s 21 Year Old, 25 Year Old, 30 Year Old and of course the star of the evening the 54 Year Old Single Malt Whiskies. Led by Highland Park Master Whisky Maker Gordon Motion, we were taken on a journey through the intricate art of whisky-making. It was an unforgettable experience, and I have to say, my taste buds have never been so pleased.

Highland Park’s ‘Unexpected Contrasts’ event was a journey that introduced me to the heart and soul of Orkney, and its renowned whiskey. From the moment we arrived, we were immersed in the craftsmanship and expertise that goes into every bottle of Highland Park. – This is not your average whiskey! Even the bottle itself is a work of art, with its embossed design and presentation box made from the finest Scottish oak wood.  The Highland Park 54-Year-Old is a limited edition liquid that comes in a bottle sculpted to represent the rugged cliffs of Yesnaby in Orkney, designed by the talented Michael Rudak.

The event truly delivered on its name, introducing us to the world of Orkney and its incredible whiskey. We were guided through the unique craftsmanship and expertise of Highland Park, and let me tell you, it was a whole new world for me. 

If you want to know more, please visit highlandparkwhisky.com

54 YEAR OLD SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY, Limited release sees only 225 bottles crafted
Highland Park unveils its oldest and rarest whisky yet – the 54 Year Old single malt Scotch Whisky, with only 225 bottles crafted by Master Whisky Maker, Gordon Motion. Originally laid down in 1968, the whisky has been matured for 54 years and bottled with a bespoke embossed bottle and a beautiful presentation box crafted from Scottish oak wood. With an RRP of £39,000, this limited edition whisky also comes with an invitation for the buyer to attend a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Orkney. Don’t miss your chance to taste a piece of Highland Park’s history!