First we had a core range, after that came the special bottlings and since a short while we also have special series. Highland Park had a lot of success releasing Earl Magnus (a 15yo released in 2009), Saint Magnus (a 12yo released in 2010) and Earl Haakon (a 18yo released in 2011), one per year. Thus a series was born. Next series was the warrior series, specially released for travel Retail (airports, boats and so on). In statistical sales figures, travel retail bottlings are treated as a country! That’s how many are sold this way. The warrior series comprises of six different bottlings, all released in 2013: Einar, Harald, Sigurd, Ragnvald, Thorfinn and Svein. Next came not a “series”, but a “collection” called The Valhalla Collection. Thor (16yo, 2012), Loki (15yo, 2013), Freya (15yo, 2014) and Odin (16yo, 2015). Again one per year. Aptly named though, since those bottlings seemed to be snapped up for collections and not so much for drinking purposes. By now Whisky became a commodity for trade and not an alcoholic beverage. Not a lot of reviews exist of these bottlings, so they must be sitting on shelves of collectors, trying to sell the now complete collection of 4 to…other collectors. Yeah, this will work just nicely.
Nose: Sweet, mocha, vanilla (ice-cream) and a hint of funky Sherry, soft peat and wood. Tiny hint of cask toast and alcohol. Toasted bread and something meaty. Dried. Sweet barley, almost like corn. Sweet funky mud. This one does develop over time. Powdered sugar and a floral soap quality (not much). A likeable and un-complex nose. Not bad at all.
Taste: Sweet and candy like. Sweet, almost artificial, red fruit drops. Sugar water and vanilla. Sugar with a bite. A slightly bitter note of oak at the start of the finish, as well as a small gingery note. Also here is the funkiness I got in the nose, that seems Sherried. Too simple actually, but without off notes as well.
Very sweet and light Highland Park. Typical travel retail bottling. It’s a litre, its 40%, its light. Even a litre of this will be drunk at a fast pace, because to properly taste this you need to take this in big gulps. Not one to ponder over for many hours. A bit too plain and simple, not to say a bit dull. Is it bad then? No not really. It’s somewhat recognizable as a Highland Park and that’s no bad thing. It’s still a decent Whisky, that can only be surpassed by (a lot of) other Whiskies. Nothing to scoff about. Never the less, not something I would buy (I would buy the 18yo (if its a good batch) or even the Dark Origins).