Highland Park Odin –Review and tasting notes

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If you’re a whisky fan,I probably should not tell you much about Odin, as you’ve probably heard all about this bottling long ago, but for those who are new to whisky, or have been on another planet in recent months : Odin is the fourth and final instalment (and much awaited) in Highland Park’s Valhalla collection (Valhalla being the home of the Norse gods, in case you did not know that…), ODIN, named for the King of Asgard himself, joins Thor, Loki and the beautiful Freya to complete Highland Park’s Valhalla Collection. Legend has it that Odin, All-father of the gods and ruler of Asgard, is an intensely complex character. Known as ‘the furious one’, Odin is the strongest of all the Norse gods and driven by an unquenchable thirst for wisdom. By sacrificing an eye for a drink from the Well of Wisdom, he earned immeasurable knowledge and insight.  With only one eye which blazes like the sun, Odin cuts an ominous figure. Like its predecessors Odin comes in a nice wooden longhop, this time all black (and looks fab, btw). This is a HP limited edition, but do not be alarmed if you’re seeking one, as “Limited” in this regard means there are only 17,000 bottles.. Not that few, but not that many, as they seem to be selling like hot cakes!

I am quite the HP fan myself, I’ve written about that many times, and I was really waiting to try this whisky for quite some time (The PR campaign was quite lengthy, this time…). You have got to give it to HP, and their PR agencies as they do know how to create a buzz, and how to lead a campaign.  It is interesting to see how prices have risen in recent years, as the Thor who was a 16 year old whisky was sold for 120 quid, Loki 15 yo was sold for 130 quid, and Freya at 140 quid.. Odin is the most expensive yet at 180 quid. Not cheap for a CS 16 year old whisky, but given today’s crazy pricing, it’s not something we have not seen before.  Price aside, I set to try this very interesting whisky, so let’s dram!

Highland Park Odin, 16 yo , 55.8% ABV, £180HP Odin bottle pack

Nose: big sherry notes up front. heaps  of deep and sweet dried fruit with quite a bit of dark macerated cherries , a hint of balsamic , a dollop of new leather , berry jam and a bit of sugar. You also get cinnamon spice and a background of gentle smoke. Really well layered and very complex. What a start!

Palate: boom! That’s a big peaty spicy entry. I was not expecting that. It’s huge. He fruitiness comes back after a few seconds : loads of red berries, ripe and jam like. A bit of sulphur here too. Spent matches and brimstone as well as pepper and dark chocolate. More leather and old library books. Toasted oak.

Finish : chocolate. Cherries red fruit covered by smoke. Hints of plum jam and tobacco leaf.

Conclusion:

No doubt, for me this is BY FAR the best whisky of the Valhalla collection, It’s just excellent, Big, complex, interesting and full of deep flavours, and a brilliant amount of smoke and peat. truly “Furious” in its way, and highly enjoyable. PR or no PR (and this quite the PR campaign), whether you love the bottle and the ship or you hate the bottle and the ship, you have to admit : This is a brilliant dram. Way to go Highland Park. Period.

As for pricing, I am not sure 180 quid is that cheap, and you can certainly get whiskies of the same calibre for less money, housed in a modest bottle without the bling of this one.

I do urge those of you who are going to buy this whisky – Please drink it. It’s great, it should be enjoyed and tasted, sniffed and appreciated, not just because of the stunning packaging. I doubt most bottles will get drunk, but those who do crack their bottle open – You’re going to have some major fun. Good luck finding one in the UK now, as it’s sold out in most places I’ve looked ,but there’s always hope to score a bottle when they hit the EU…

Score: 91/100

Official sample provided by Highland Park

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