Highland Park Valkyrie – review

Highland park recently announced a re-design of their core range bottles with the 10, 12 , 18 getting a facelift, and a very sexy bottle design, feauturing more Viking Lore and Viking art. In addition to the core range getting facelifted , they have released a new NAS edition which replaces the Dark Origins (released in 2014), called the Valkyrie. The bottle and box were designed in partnership with renowned Danish designer Jim Lyngvild. Having once been part of Denmark and Norway, Orkney became the raiding headquarters for Norwegian Vikings in the 8th and 9th century, shaping a unique past for the island. Magnus Eunson, who founded Highland Park in 1798, was a direct descendent of those first Viking pioneers.  Even today, 1 in 3 Orkney islanders bear Scandinavian DNA and share a fierce pride for the rich Nordic ancestry woven into the islands’ traditions and culture.

Highland Park approached Danish designer Jim Lyngvild, himself a modern day Viking and expert in Norse mythology, to design striking new packaging for the three special edition whiskies (valkyrie is the first one of the three) Valkyrie’s unique one-off design is inspired by two important Nordic sources – a typical Viking pendant from around 300-700AD discovered in Uppland, Sweden and the ancient Hammar Stone of Gotland which details the epic journey of theValkyries, In his distinctive style, Lyngvild has interpreted the ancient legend of the Valkyries – avenging horse-backed angels who combed the battlefields for the bravest of their fallen warriors – in an expressive, story-telling illustration for Highland Park.Noticeably different from the traditional black and silver Highland Park packaging, the re-imagined design maintains the distillery’s ongoing references to Viking design whilst updating the graphics with a bolder, hand-drawn aesthetic.

Using embossed metallic detailing, he represents the Valkyries as shield-maidens of Odin, offering their god a drink of mead from a curved horn. The larger illustration features a winged Valkyrie with coiled hair and a necklace that pays homage to the goddess Freya’s magical Brísingamen torc (necklace).

All this is quite interesting if you’re a fan of viking art, but I guess you’re more interested to hear how the liquid is – let’s get down to business, dramming business that is…

Nose: A nice start with a melange of dried fruit (but not quite heavy on that), apple peel, wood spices (cinnamon) and a nice smoky touch to it, quite pronounced as we’re talking Orkney malt. There’s a nice malty feeling as well as ripe oranges, and a touch of chocolate. Doesn’t feel very old, but not too young as well.
Palate: The palate is surprisingly rich and smoky, with bitter wood notes (in a good way), some dried fruit, orange marmalade, and a touch of salty nuts, and salted caramel, chocolate and vanilla, with more smoke. Quite love the feeling of that, big bodied, spicy at times, and warm smoke wrapped around everything. very enjoyable.
Finish: Quite long, with ginger powder, chocolate, raisins, and smoke.
This is a very tasty whisky, Not sure if I prefer this to the old Dark Origins- this is quite a lot smokier if you prefer that – It’s a clear winner. At any rate, the smoke and fruit / spice profile works well, it’s very drinkable, and very more-ish. I can easily recommend it at this price point. Great tasting whisky, and lovely bottle design. Can’t go wrong there. Good work HP.

Score: 85/100

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