Highland Park Valkyrie is the latest in Highland Park’s NAS Nordic themed extension of their core line; a theme they’ve embraced fully over the last few years. From a branding perspective it feels like Edrington has been shifting HP towards becoming the leader of the “story based whisky” trend that’s quickly become the hallmark of the NAS whisky movement by distilleries.
In Highland Park’s Words: Highland Park Valkyrie
“Exquisitely balanced and delivering wave upon wave of warm aromatic smoke and richly ripened fruit, VALKYRIE is the first in a series of three special Viking Legend releases and has just been awarded the Chairman’s Trophy in the 2017 Ultimate Spirits Challenge, scoring 99 out of 100.
The whisky itself, created by our Master Whisky Maker, Gordon Motion, dials up more of our smoky notes by incorporating more of our heathery peated malt. This creates a richer, fuller phenolic note that has balance due to the sweeter, heathery character of our moorland peat but it is a slight departure from our core 12 Year Old whisky.”
If you’re reading this you can obviously see the score in the above Highland Park Valkyrie photo so to say I don’t agree with the “Ultimate Spirits Challenge” is an understatement. I’m left sitting here thinking “have the USC people never had a HP 30 or HP 25? Have they never had any of the magnificent Indie HPs?”. Who the hell is scoring at the USC?
Reading that it seems like the USC tasters haven’t tried a whole lot, if any, Highland Park in the past; or even tried any truly great whisky for that matter. I’m not disparaging HP for touting the score BTW, seeing that just furthers my belief that institutions like the USC are utterly worthless… unless the 99 was for the Highland Park Valkyrie’s freaking awesome screw-cork innovation.
I took this bottle with me to a couple different whisky club and whisky nerd gatherings and everyone loved the screw-cork top. Mixed feelings on the whisky, but the cap got rave reviews. There’s something oddly satisfying about pushing in the cork and then locking it tight with a twist. I don’t know why it’s satisfying… but it is. Anyways, on to the Highland Park Valkyrie review!
Highland Park Valkyrie Info
Region: Islands, Scotland
Distiller: Highland Park
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: ex-Bourbon and sherry-seasoned American Oak casks
No Color Added
Highland Park Valkyrie Review
Smoked orchard fruit: orchard fruit brittle, vanilla, ash, caramel and spice get bundled neatly in a peaty smoky wrapper.
Ashy fruit; additional layers of peat, hay-like malt, toffee, spice and light touches of spirity vanilla, brûlée and saline also play across the tongue.
Long fade of peat, apples, ash, spirity vanilla and salt.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Ok balance, medium body and oddly it’s a touch hot on its way down.
Highland Park Valkyrie is a whisky that’s slowly grown on me. At first I felt “meh” about it, then after a few glasses over a few days I appreciated it and now… I kinda dig it. It’s bit odd, it doesn’t fully scream “Highland Park” and it’s obviously young, but it has a unique beauty all its own that’s enjoyable at intervals.
Would I like come home to the Highland Park Valkyrie every day after work? No. Would I like to sip on it now and then to mix things up and get something different floating through my senses? Yes, and that’s why it’s a solid B.
SCORE: 85/100 (B)
*Disclosure: This Highland Park Valkyrie was graciously sent to me by the company for the purposes of this review. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.