Review – Highland Park Magnus

Highland Park’s new Magnus expression is a North American exclusive release that has been crafted to pay homage to the founder of the distillery,  Magnus Eunson. It is comprised of a high proportion of sherry seasoned American oak casks alongside some refill casks.

You can read more about Highland Park Distillery in a previous HP Vertical review here.

Highland Park Magnus, NAS, 40%abv, press sample (available in North America only)


The nose may have gentle orkney peat, but is deeply engrained all the way through the nose despite this lightness. Slight elements of linseed and oranges pervade, alongside some dark fruits which are buried quite deep inside and are almost missable. 

There is a good whiff of vanilla and something I can only really describe as lightly charred coconut.

The palate is confusing, it almost seems like it doesn’t follow on from the nose at all. Theres some tangy brine and coastal notes and a surprising banana bread element. There is quite a lot of spice and hot ginger here and some soft brown sugar. It feels a little thin and seems like a lot of flavours are being juggled here.

The finish is somewhat short. I had expected some long and lingering peat however it is mostly about the wood influence which, unfortunately, isn’t good. The oak is very prominent and at times becomes a touch bitter. Its mixed with a little ginger and some strange savoury notes.

The addition of water doesn’t seem to help at all, only bringing out a mild change in the amount of vanilla and a slight touch more fruit.

Bit of a strange one. It almost feels like the nose, palate and finish are all from different whiskies. To me it just feels a little unbalanced and at times the wood influence isn’t doing it any favours.

I’ve always been a fan of Highland Park and still class the Highland Park 12 as a drinks cabinet must have. Their recent Valkyrie release received some mixed reviews, although I admittedly didn’t mind it, but I feel they may have dropped the ball on this one.

You can find more Highland Park tasting notes as well as the latest news in The Archive.

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