Highland Park Valkyrie
Highland Park Valkyrie, 45,9 %
The Highland Park Valkyrie is the first in a new series called the Viking Legend Series. The Valkyrie was released earlier this year, and will be followed over the next couple of years by Valknut and Valhalla.
This whisky is matured in a mix of American oak bourbon casks, European oak sherry casks, and American oak sherry casks. The American oak sherry casks make up about 50 % of the mix, and these casks were filled with the heavily peated newmake at Highland Park.
Since 2007, for a few weeks per year, Highland Park use local Orkney grown Tartan barley which they process at their own floor maltings to make a heavily peated malt. Where the phenol level for Highland park is normally in the 12-15 ppm range, this heavily peated malt clocks in at around 45 ppm.
With about 50 % of the Valkyrie being made up of the heavily peated variant, the approximate ppm for this whisky is close to 30 ppm. That is quite peaty for a Highland Park whisky!
The Highland Park Valkyrie is already available to buy online at around GBP 46. It has yet to be launched in Sweden and Norway. A release date in Norway has been set for November 3, 2017, and the selling price will be NOK 700.
Nose: Almost dry on the nose. Chocolate, coffee beans, caramel, and heather. Warm and dry smoke. It is a bit laid back. With time I get chocolate smoke! White pepper. Definitely more smoky than your average HP. Really improves with time in the glass. Getting more sweet and peaty.
Taste: Creamy and rich mouthfeel. Massive amounts of pepper (white, black, green, rosé, any colour you can think of!). Then, once the wave of peppers has subsided, I get dark chocolate with bits of roasted coffee beans in the mix (you know the kind of fancy chocolate bars you can get at specialist stores). Toasted oak and whiffs of smoke. Actually, make that smoke and ashes. The peatiness becomes more pronounced after a sip or two. Well-roasted marshmallows and hints of gunpowder.
Finish: Medium long finish. Medium sweetness as well. The chocolate is still there, with some added honey, but it is all relatively light and 'fluffy', which works very well.
Comments: Very nice! I would say this comes across as the natural heir of the Highland Park Dark Origins.
Bottle image from Master of Malt.
Sláinte! - Thomas