Whisky-maker Highland Park invited guests to join for a Lunch in NYC to celebrate THE LIGHT as well as a Lily Kwong-designed ORKADIA installation.
Highland Park is a whisky for those who know. Increasingly becoming a household name, Highland Park retains a distinct luxury of being one of the few distilleries that malts parts of the barley used to craft its Scotch whisky and preserves its ancient production traditions in a far Scottish archipelago, the Orkney Islands. Highland Park is also unique for employing a flowering plant known as heather in its malt. The result (paired with the remarkably steady weather patterns in Orkney) results in a stunning and well-rounded whisky at any age, never hollow or stale.
Highland Park is known for special aged releases, and in correspondence with the Summer Solstice- the longest day of the year and a huge celebration in Scotland- the distillery released its latest manifestation with THE LIGHT. Designed to counter the celebrated THE DARK. What’s the difference, technically? Subtle: THE LIGHT is finished in American Oak casks whereas THE DARK is finished in European Oak casks. What’s the difference in taste? An entire world: THE LIGHT comes with tones of caramelized pear, heather peat, nutmeg, vanilla and a kiss of smoke.
On the mouth, THE LIGHT walks by. It evaporates in an instant leaving a honey-sweet aftertaste that is downright addicting. Oppose this to THE DARK, which sits down immediately, big and burly, notes of grass and dirt mixed with rare dark cherries.
In the interest of exploring the regional and global connections of the Highland Park experience (the only Whisky to ever score a perfect 100% rating in Scotland), a select few joined together in New York City’s AGERN restaurant, located at Grand Central Station for a tasting and Orkney-inspired lunch. AGERN a Scandinavian influenced restaurant with Icelandic flair, headed by chef Gunnar Gíslason. It was a prescient choice as the Orkney Islands are quite far north, approaching the Shetlands, thus embody a certain Scottish interpretation of Scandinavian habit.
The meal, in three course, was involved pairings of Highland Park’s refined whiskys with dishes such as Icelandic dried haddock with THE LIGHT, grilled lamb with Highland Park’s 12-year-old, and finished with a dessert and THE DARK.
THE LIGHT truly is summer in a glass- emotive and present, fleeting but joyful on the tongue, and only enhanced the rare taste of dried haddock, which adds a body to this charming liquor.
The enjoyment extended past the lunch- Highland Park provided a complete picnic kit to indulge in Scottish fare such as jams and jellies, ginger snaps, and Highland Park whisky.
The lunch ran simultaneously to ORKADIA, an immersive installation in New York City’s Grand Central Station- which combined the adventurous landscape designer Lily Kwong’s work with the sounds of composer Gary Gunn. Running for a short period over the longest days of the year, ORKADIA was a celebration of Orkney life- mosses, famous purple heather, and more. It’s 8,000 square feet of moss and hundreds of flowering plants styled to create a moment of slowness in busy NYC. Once the installation concludes, all plants will be donated to Repeat Roses, an organization brightening the lives of communities around the US by repurposing plants and giving them second and third lives.
4,500 bottles of THE LIGHT will be available in the USA.