Monday 25th March 2019: Highland Park today announces the launch of 16-Year-Old single malt whisky Twisted Tattoo, the first expression from the Orkney-based distillery to combine whisky matured in rioja seasoned wine casks and first fill bourbons casks.
A rich and full-bodied whisky with notes of light heather peat and soft red fruits, the inspiration for Twisted Tattoo comes from Orkney’s Norse ancestry and the Viking legend of the Midgard Serpent which grew so large it twisted around the earth to bite its own tail.
To bring this mythology to life on the bottle, Highland Park has partnered with renowned Danish tattoo artist Colin Dale, who specialises in the ancient art of dot-work tattooing – a freestyled, non-electric tattoo technique – to create Twisted Tattoo’s striking design.
Dale’s research has helped to reintroduce the lost tattooing techniques of the Nordic, Native American and Inuit cultures. His studio, Skin & Bone, uses both traditional and modern techniques to tell stories on skin.
With an ABV of 46.7%, Twisted Tattoo is available exclusively from The Whisky Shop. RRP £80.
Chris Anderson, head of Edrington brands at Edrington-Beam Suntory UK, said: “Highland Park is incredibly proud of its Orcadian routes, which is why so many of our whiskies celebrate our home – and Twisted Tattoo is no different.
“Highland Park is innately Nordic and we want to pay homage to this through the launch of our latest whisky and partnership, which brings liquid and art together.”
Jason Craig, global brand director, Highland Park, said: “For us, Colin Dale was an ideal choice as a creative partner. He is the perfect example of a modern-day Viking Soul and our partnership show off the similarities between our crafts.
“Tattoos are emotionally important and tell stories on the skin, much like our whisky tells the tales of our Orkney islands’ ancestry. Both arts can be traced back hundreds of years with the traditional skills still playing a key role in the tattooing and whisky making process today.”
Highland Park is excited to introduce you to VALKNUT Special Edition single malt Scotch whisky. In partnership with renowned Danish designer Jim Lynvgild, Highland Park VALKNUT is the second in a series of three VIKING LEGEND releases inspired by our rich Viking history and mythology.
Jason Craig, Highland Park brand director, commented: “Valknut is an intensely balanced whisky with an ABV of 46.8%. It’s been matured predominantly in American sherry seasoned oak casks with a slightly higher phenolic level, compared to Valkyrie. We’ve also used a small amount of Orkney grown Tartan barley which adds to its smokier edge and lingering sweet, spicy finish.”
Designer, Jim Lyngvild commented: “The story of the Valknut is compelling and I wanted to ensure that the design feature of this packaging was a fitting match to the whisky created by Master Whisky Maker Gordon Motion.
“Also, as VALKNUT is part of a series of three expressions, I made sure that there is continuity in style of the packaging – for example, the frieze design at top is consistent in look but the story of the symbol has been brought to the front panel.”
Jim’s inspiration came from two important Nordic sources in Gotland, Sweden – the first of the four Stora Hammars stones and the picture stone at Tängelgårda.
VALKNUT means ‘knot of those killed in battle’ and its symbol of three interlinked triangles is closely associated with the Norse god Odin who guided the spirits of the dead to Valhalla.
Norse mythology tells of the VALKYRIES, Odin’s female servants, who combed the battlefields for the bravest fallen warriors. Vikings who met an honourable death were marked out by the symbol of the VALKNUT and spirited away to VALHALLA to join Odin’s mighty army and prepare for RAGNAROK, the battle of the end of the world.
In our latest auction we saw what could be described as a curious mixture of solid consistency and the usual July quiet spell. Once again we had a couple of bonded casks of whisky at the top of the sale, this time a pair of delicious 1996 Ben Nevis butts. At £13,000 a piece this seems a more sensible, traditional market value result than some previous casks have fetched. Although still well above what you’d have paid from a broker until recently, this perhaps represents the big difference in cultural perception between Ben Nevis and the likes of Macallan or a closed distillery such as Littlemill.
Moving to the bottles and Macallan predictably had another good turn out with £4200 for the 1957 Anniversary Malt and £3900 for the 40 year old Gordon & MacPhail bottling for Italy from the 1970s. While impressive it seems as though it won’t be long until these early Anniversary Malts will be spiralling even higher towards a five figure sum. Let’s see what’s happening a year from now, in today’s market it’s getting harder and harder to be surprised by anything. We used to baulk at the likes of the Macallan Diamond Jubilee fetching north of £1200, and yet, here we are with last night’s example fetching £3600. Interesting times…
Other solidly performing Macallans were a pair of Private Eyes for £3300 apiece and a 1970 Anniversary Malt for £3000. It seems, despite constant supply, the market still has appetite for these kinds of bottlings.
It was good to see the Bowmore 1956 official distillery bottling return. Unsurprisingly it ended up at £4100, even at this price it seems good for such an incredible whisky. Interestingly the Brora 1972 Rare Malts 58.7% fetched £2800, down a little on previous results. Could this be the lower filling level, over-supply, or just summer doldrums? Time will tell, but I suspect whoever bought it nabbed themselves a wee bargain.
Other stunning whiskies in the upper ends of the sale included the Bowmore Bicentenary at £1750. This is another bottling that, despite ubiquity at auction, is going nowhere but up in price. When everyone wants to a bottling, for both collecting and drinking then value is pretty much bullet proof these days. Similarly, it was good to see the Highland Park Rebus 20 year old fetching £1650. This is a lesser known bottling, but those who have been lucky enough to taste it will understand the desirability.
Undeniably our favourite bottle this sale was the Ainslie Baillie & Cofrom the early 20th century. It’s so rare to find old genuine bottles like this in such stunning condition. This would have contained a significant proportion of Clynelish and I can only imagine what it must taste like. £1500 is a solid price.
Another interesting result was for the Lagavulin 12 year old White Horse 1970s bottling. This is a bottle that I’ve often mentioned in these reports, however, the fact it jumped right up to £1200 last night shows that it is likely entering a new trading level. It’s understandable when the quality of the whisky in these bottles has been lauded for years now and desirability is only going up and up.
Similarly the two old vintage dumpy Highland Park bottlings at £1150 a piece is also understandable, these bottlings are becoming more and more popular these days as knowledge about just how beautiful the whisky contained within is proliferates. Again, it will be very interesting to see where these bottlings are sitting at a year from now.
Other solid results were the Macallan Travel series for £1050, the Springbank 25 year old dumpy official bottling for £1050 and rather beautiful old official 1960s Rosebank for £975. Interestingly, an identical bottle sold for £575 as well. The only difference? Some splitting to the seal. It’s interesting to see how these kinds of wee details can make a different to collectors.
Midleton whiskies have long been collectable, however, in recent months we’ve noticed how prices across the board for their official releases have started to really skyrocket. For years you could pick up the 1990 Midleton release for around £160-220. Last night one fetched £825 and a 1997 release hit £650. With earlier releases in the series now consistently at four figures, how long before the 1990s releases all go the same way?
Another bottling which, conversely, seems like it’s taking its time to get above four figures is the Rare Malts Port Ellen releases. These bottlings have long sat around the £500-700 mark. Last night one fetched £825 which is a solid result. I suspect that one day these will jump above the £1000 mark and then it’ll be impossible to get one for less. Now might be a good time to snap one up if you’ve ever eyed one…
In terms of bargains this month there were perhaps one or two more than usual, although by old standards they are still thin on the ground and today’s definition of ‘bargain’ on the secondary market perhaps needs updating from what it meant in 2012-14. A 1968 Dalmore bottled in 1983 by Avery’s of Bristol seems like decent value at £575 for such a rare bottling. The Highland Park Ice at £105 also looks good compared to other recent sales.
Beyond that though, it’s rather slim pickings. As usual almost everything at the lower ends of the sale is really starting to hit or outstrip what might be considered its regular market value. Although, given the rapid and volatile nature of today’s secondary market, is there still really such a thing as ‘market value’? Probably not for an increasing number of whiskies I’d say…
It would be fair to say that as far as single malt Scotch whisky goes, Highland Park is well just that little bit special. With its roots on the island of Orkney and with a heritage as much Viking as it is Scottish, the Highland Park distillery continues to produce some of the most remarkable whisky seen out of any Scottish distillery. Indeed Highland Park’s 25 year expression has triumphed on many occasion and no less so than when it was awarded the first ever 100-point score, along with the Chairman’s Trophy for Best of Category, by judges at Ultimate Beverage Challenge’s fourth annual Ultimate Spirits Challenge in New York in 2013. The film below looks at the underlying core principles that make Highland Park whisky the success story that it is today.
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