Singlemalt.tv and Highland Park teamed up to do a live webcast back on September 28th. Gerry Tosh, head of brand education at highland park, and his boss Jason Craig discussed (and tasted) the new Earl Magnus 15 year Cask Strength special release that is coming out by the end of the year. They also talked about the general plan for HP special releases in the near to medium term, and hinted at a possible addition to the standard HP lineup.
Check out the video here:
[Update: The above link isn’t working well for me right now. Here’s a link to the High Resolution Video on singlemalt.tv]
Now, for those who don’t feel like watching the full 25 minute video, I thought I’d go ahead and summarize some of the most interesting tidbits:
- Special Releases
- HP looking to put significant effort into satisfying enthusiast/collector demand for special releases.
- Earl Magnus is Edition 1 of a series of “affordable collectible” releases to come out in round bottles with darker glass.
- Also looking at some high end collectible releases: Vintages, 50 year, etc.
- Earl Magnus
- 15 year old cask strength at 52.6% ABV.
- To be priced in the 75 to 85 GBP price range. [Update: Looks like 85 GBP]
- Just under 6,000 bottles to be released.
- Will contain some older casks as well.
- American oak and high ABV combines to make the smoke stand out. Not as sweet as the Hjarta.
- Lemon/lime/coconut flavors due to the American oak.
- Update [12/7/09] – Whiskyfun has now reviewed Earl Magnus. 90 points.
- Update [12/15/09] – Check out a high resolution picture over at Edinburgh Whisky Blog.
- Update [2/10/10] – My own unbottling and initial impressions, with lots of pictures and packaging details.
- “Affordable collectible” Edition 2
- The follow-up to Earl Magnus will come out next year.
- Age not yet determined…could move to an 18 year or go back to a 10-13 year release.
- If 18 year, probably closer to 4,000 bottles to be released. If younger, maybe 7,000 to 9,000 bottles.
- Price will be 10-20 GBP higher or lower than Earl Magnus depending on age.
- Yet another bottle style. Jet-black glass with flared bottom.
- 2 vintage releases per year.
- Looking to release 10 vintages over the next 4-6 years.
- 1964 and 1968 to be the first two vintage releases.
- Coming in March/April 2010.
- 290 bottles of 1964; 1,550 bottles of 1968.
- 50 Year
- They have some casks that will turn 50 in Jan. 2010.
- Still planning the details of the 50 year release.
- Look for it in Summer 2010.
- New Make Spirit
- Planning to make new-make spirit available, probably only at the Distillery (or possibly from web site).
- Probably would come in smaller bottles.
- 12 year Cask Strength core range bottling
- Gerry and Jason both feel that they should do a standard 12 CS release.
- Hjarta showed strong demand for higher strength.
- Hoping for success with Earl Magnus…could play into the decision.
- No commitment or details…just hinting that it’s very possible.
- HP Packaging
- Current flat bottle design based on some bottles they found in their archives from 1920s/30s. Not just dreamed up out of nowhere.
- They also had some quality problems with the old bottle that led to the change.
Are these exciting times for HP or what? Apparently their traditional focus on primarily the standard 12 year bottling (up until 1997/1998) has allowed them to build up quite a stock of older casks. That’s why they’re now able to offer the 30 and 40 year as permanent releases. This also affords them quite a bit of creative freedom with these special releases.Cheers, Jeff