Highland Park Magnus is the latest single malt from Highland Park. The whisky is exclusive to the USA and Canada. The expression is named after its founder, part-time smuggler, Magnus Eunson and may not be confused with Highland Park's Earl Magnus and Saint Magnus whiskies from a few years ago. The reason is very simple. Magnus Eunson wasn't exactly a saint...
The stylish black bottle features the new Nordic artwork inspired on the animal art from Urnes Stave Church. The church forms a link between Christian architecture and Viking art. The iconography from the northern wall is the inspiration for Highland Park's rebranding. The lion and serpent carvings have been designed to form a capital M. M for Magnus.
With its price range of $40 and an ABV of 40% this more like an entry-level Highland Park than a replacement for Dark Origins. The whisky is a vatting of a high proportion of sherry seasoned American oak casks and refill casks. Seasoned sherry casks are new virgin oak casks filled with dry Oloroso sherry and laid to rest for 12 to 24 months at the bodega. Afterwards, the casks are emptied and shipped to Highland Park.
Let's see if Magnus is a worthy Highland Park single malt.
Identity Card Highland Park Magnus
- Highland Park Distillery, Kirkwall (Orkney)
- NAS single malt Scotch whisky
- Exclusive to U.S. and Canada market
- Alcohol: 40% ABV
Colour: Golden yellow in colour, slow and thin legs appear on the glass.
Nose: Grain and oats. Coconut. Irish coffee. Whipped cream, coffee beans and cacao. Some Haribo candies. Cherry candy. Salted caramel fudge. It's obviously related to the Highland Park family. Banana, meringue and papaya.
Taste: Soft and slightly smoky. A bitter touch. A dry light texture. Liquorice, tobacco and ash. Coconut and mint, malt and bread. Pepper and ginger. Roodthooft mokatine candy.
Finish: A short minty and creamy finale with coffee candy.
Highland Park Magnus is a solid introduction to Highland Park and smoky whiskies in general. I could probably argue that tuning up the ABV a few notches would make it even better. Maybe even better than the 10-year-old... But in this price range, it's definitely one to pick up. That is if you live in the U.S. or Canada. Otherwise, you'll have to content yourself with the 10yo or the new Dragon Legend.
Photo credits: Highland Park
Sample disclosure: A sample of the Highland Park Magnus was provided by Edrington. Opinions expressed in this review remain of course my own.