Highland Park Valkyrie

“Severed heads.” “Servants of Odin.” “Ghostly Armies.”

Did these phrases come from the liner notes of a Viking metal album? No, they actually appear on the box holding Highland Park’s Valkyrie Single Malt Scotch, the first of three new Viking Legend releases from the Scottish distiller. Highland Park is located on the island of Orkney, which was once used a base for marauding Vikings, so there you go.

I don’t mention boxes too often, but the Valkyrie box is… pretty metal. Both the box and the uniquely shaped bottle feature the illustrations of one Jim Lyngvild, a Danish designer who, according to the bio that appears on the box, “is a viking” that can “trace his own bloodline all the way back to the 8th century.”

Pretty cool stuff. But what about the whisky? It pours a bright, soft gold in the glass. Its nose is fruity with peaches and vanilla, and also features notes of salt, leather, and cigar box.

Highland Park Valkyrie begins soft, rounded, and juicy on the palate. The initial fruit flavors ripen into a heavier sweetness on the center that’s reminiscent of toffee and nougat. The sweetness falls away to vanilla and leather before darkening to an awesomely powerful smoky note that’s pure char. This final bonfire of a flavor lingers for what feels like an impossibly long time.

While a good sipping whisky is a great companion to book-reading or Netflix-binging, I can’t say the same of Highland Park Valkyrie. And that’s meant as praise. Valkyrie is such a wild ride of extremes that it’s hard to concentrate on anything else while you’re experiencing it. It’s both wet, soft and fruity, yet dark, savory and smoky. If it were to magically turn into a human being, I imagine that it would grab me by the lapels and shake me vigorously.

And I’d be okay with that.

— 45.9% ABV
— $80

CE Rating: ★★★★

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