Highland Park Freya Valhalla Collection

Sunday, February 09, 2014


It shouldn't come as a surprise that the final whisky of our Highland Park Valhalla trio is the 2014 release known as Freya. I experienced each of these whiskies as part of the Highland Park Twitter tasting event earlier this month. You can read my thoughts on Thor and Loki by clicking on the links for each.

Freya is the Norse god of love and the colour scheme utilised by Highland Park fits in nicely with the stunning Aurora Borealis phenomenon, otherwise known as the Northern Lights. Back on Twitter, there was much love for Freya, ignoring some of the over the top comments. Overall on the night I'd say Thor came out top as this fits in with what we associate with Highland Park today. A very close 2nd was Freya for me as it takes a step away from the core Highland Park characteristics and particularly the use of sherry casks in the overall mix.

The element of sweetness was a major surprise heavily amplified by the 100% use of first fill ex-American oak casks. A true rarity in the Highland Park range, it shows what you can achieve with inventive cask selection. Hopefully by marrying these Valhalla releases to iconic imagery the public will appreciate how different whiskies can be.

Distillery: Highland Park
Distilled: 1999
Bottled: 2014 (15 years)
Strength: 51.2%
Additional: Edition of 19,000 (selling out fast)

Colour: rich oak
Nose: fresh vanilla pod, custard tart, apples, grapefruit, limoncello so a really fresh, citrus, vibrant nose almost perfume-like in its appeal
Taste: fresh pine, a touch of smoke in the background, ginger, a scrapping of butter, coconut and a slice of refreshing lemon curd

Of the 3 releases so far Freya stands out for being totally different and daring to try something else. Just like the Glenfiddich 125th Anniversary bottling, on a blind tasting I wouldn't have picked this out as being from Highland Park. Hopefully on Orkney we have more experiments like this slowly maturing for release.

What Highland Park have in store for the 4th and final release in the Valhalla collection we'll only know come 2015. Then like most themed releases we'll be seeing complete sets up for auction shortly afterwards. I believe Freya deserves a better fate, a real eye opener this early into 2014.

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