Highland Park has always been a favourite of mine although I am rather spoiled having tasted the 50 Year old last year- but I do really get to grips with its house style and character. So when I was invited last month to the launch of their new “Warrior Series” I was very much looking forward to it.
The six new expressions will be available through Travel Retail and have been created to showcase flavour through different maturation and specifically the increased use of European sherry cask as you move up through the range. Following on from previous travel retail releases, such as Leif Eriksson and Drakkar, comes this new range of six single malts.
Each whisky has been named after a Viking warrior, aligning its strength and intrigue with these heroes of a past time. Orkney has strong ties to Norse and Viking culture with a colourful history and the range is set to tell the story of each of its namesake.
Speaking at the launch, Global Marketing Manager Gerry Tosh said:
“The Warrior Series is a natural progression for Highland Park, both in brand terms and in global travel retail. By continuing the celebration of our rich and distinctive Norse heritage we are able to tell stories which bring the brand and its products to life. To further this evolution, the whisky maker has crafted six individual whiskies which collectively offer drinkers a new style of taste journey, still classically Highland Park from start to finish, but giving them a different and holistic experience.”
The range is to be released in two part, with the latter three expressions due for release in the summer.
Svein- The ultimate Viking chieftain whose exploits lie at the heart of the Orkneyinga Saga and his appetite for adventure and merriment are legendary.
40% abv No age statement
RRP €40 1 litre Bottle
90% American Oak, 10% European Oak
Appearance: Pale straw with light yellows.
Nose: Fruity and floral, the light character of this whisky is immediate. Redcurrants, woody spices and a light nut oil layer through the nose with some richer smoked citrus elements in the background.
Palate: Charred cedar wood with warm vanilla. Linseed and light spices turning towards dry apricots, orange pith mixed with malt.
Finish: A lingering oil notes helps cling onto the citrus element with light wood/malt.
Einar- Was the Earl of Orkney from 1014. A hard and successful Viking, often venturing on many long voyages, he was relentless in this rule and clearly identifiable by his mighty axe.
No Age Statement
RRP €53 1 Litre Bottle
75% American Oak, 25% European Oak
Appearance: White gold with ripe straw.
Nose: Chestnuts in honey with drifts of light smoke never amounting to more than a rubber note. Tropical peel with pepper and malt.
Palate: Pronounce, grippy dry smoke with creamy oil and ginger. Soft floral notes wrap around the woody vanilla to contain it and balance out the spices.
Finish: The smokey barley hangs around with sweet floral notes drifting through.
Harald- Was an incredible character in the founding of the Orkney earldom, as well as having a major role in the development of Viking history. King of Norway, Harald Fairhair was famed for his army, which was revered across the world at the time.
No Age Statement
50% American Oak, 50% European Oak
Appearance: Warm gold with light yellows.
Nose: A rich nose of integrated smoke with ginger, cedar, chestnuts and red fruit compote. An earthy rubber note lingers in the background, a mix of spice and smoke. Deeper citrus and tropical notes are hard to find but are in there.
Palate: Creamy vanilla, tingling ginger and cinnamon with oily notes and a hint of cocoa. Smoke is more subdues here, covered by the spicier notes derived from the increase in European oak lending more a raised platform for the other flavours to lay over rather than be the dominant force.
Finish: Oily citrus with soft peat smoke and earthy spices.
Summary: It is very interesting to see the change in character through these three whiskies as they change the wood programme and I certainly was most taken by the balanced deeper notes found in the Harald bottle. Highland Park fans certainly wont be disappointed in these three, although perhaps the first two are a little on the lighter side. I also had the opportunity to sample the next three, yet unreleased expressions which increase the European oak further and was very happy with the results, but will keep those notes to myself until the summer.