Whisky

Highland Park Releases New Packaging with Viking Heritage

Highland Park single malt has embraced a Viking theme as the brand launches new packaging inspired by its Viking history.

Highland Park
Highland Park New Bottling

Located in Orkney, Highland Park is Scotland’s most northerly distillery and has Viking origins that goes all the way back to 800AD
when the Islands were owned and ruled by the Viking kingdoms of Denmark and Norway. Although Orkney became part of Scotland in 1468, Orcadians still feel a strong connection with their Viking heritage as 1 in 3 of them has Scandinavian DNA. In fact, since the brand’s creation in 1798, Highland Park single malt has been made by the modern day descendants of Vikings and who still today are fiercely proud of their Scandinavian roots.

Highland Park
Martin “The Viking” Markvardsen

During his first visit to Australia to showcase the range, Highland Park’s Senior Brand Ambassador, Martin “The Viking” Markvardsen led a vertical tasting session interspersed with entertaining personal anecdotes and insights into the processes that make up the whisky production.

Highland Park

Some of the key points he highlighted was that Highland Park is one of very few Scottish distilleries that malt their barley on site, they do not use caramel (E150)to enhance the colour of their whiskies and the distillery has invested a hefty sum on wood including the appointment of Master of Wood, Stuart MacPherson.

Highland Park Tasting

The line up for the evening consisted of the following core range as well as special releases:

Highland Park

The whisky profile for Highland Park’s core expressions award winning is unchanged. However, each variant has been given a sub-brand name to give a stronger individual identity to each whisky and as a tribute to those first Viking pioneers who settled on Orkney hundreds of years ago.

  • Highland Park 10 yo Viking Scars – aged in American oak sherry casks; lightly peated with notes of citrus, vanilla and pepper spice.
  • Highland Park 12 yo Viking Honour – aged in ex European sherry casks, 20% of which are first fill; a balance of heather honey, fruitcake, warm spice, oranges and smoky peat
  • Highland Park 18 yo Viking Pride – aged in ex European sherry casks, 45-50% of which are first fill; a harmony of honey sweetness dark chocolate, cherries, toffee and peat smoke

Highland Park Valkyrie

Highland Park
Highland Park Valkyrie

The highlight of the tasting was a new expression yet to be released in Australia. Highland Park Valkyrie is the first of the Viking Legend series. The NAS single malt has a higher peat level of 45ppm (compared to the usual 28ppm), is bottled at 45.9% ABV and matured in four different cask types: refill casks, American ex-bourbon casks, American oak ex-sherry casks, and European ex-sherry casks.

Sweet and spicy with more distinct peat on the palate, Valkyrie still retains the Highland Park DNA but adds layers of complexity with a long and satisfying finish.

The label was designed by a true Viking and the expression will be available in Australia in early 2018.

Highland Park Fire & Ice

Highland Park Fire & Ice are a two part special bottling celebrating the Viking sagas recorded in the oldest Norse poems, the Poetic Edda.

Highland Park
L-R: Highland Park Ice, Highland Park Fire

Highland Park Fire Edition (45.2% ABV) is matured in 100% port wine casks and aged for 15 years. It makes for pleasant sipping with notes of ripe red fruit, vanilla, citrus peel, cinnamon spice and soft smoke.

Highland Park Ice (53.9% ABV) is a 17 yo expression aged in 100% 1st-fill American ex-bourbon casks with new cask ends put in. Less ppm smoke comes through with the use of 1st fill casks and it has a sweeter profile of fresh pineapple, vanilla, mango and soft spice along with a dryer finish from the time in oak.

Highland Park

In staying with the Viking theme, the tasting was held at Mjolner, a Viking themed restaurant and bar followed by a Viking Feast.

Photography © by Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.

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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.