About this blog:

This blog will feature tasting notes, reviews, distillery visits and whisky news with focus mainly on Scottish single malts. This will sometimes be accompanied by politically incorrect (whisky) opinions. You have now been warned! :-)
The views expressed here are entirely my own, unless otherwise stated.

Saturday, 6 April 2013


An old saying goes something like 'Whisky is liquid sunshine' and if this is true, I had my first whisky early this morning. The sky was clear and the sun was shining bright when I left home, bound for Copenhagen, to participate in the Danish launch of the latest in Highland Park's Valhalla Collection - the 'Loki'.

The very skill full Highland Park crew has certainly, as with 'Loki's predecessor 'Thor', made a promise of something even more special than with the 'Thor' - a whisky to reflect 'Loki' - a changeling, a shape shifter and manipulative and devious character - but is he good? or bad? He's certainly an ever changing character according to the mythology that surrounds him.

Senior Danish Brand Ambassador for Highland Park - Martin Markvardsen welcomed us at 'Den Holmske Gaard' in downtown Copenhagen - a building from the same year as Highland Park Distillery was established on Orkney - 1798. Tables were beautiffully set with peat, malted barley, cask staves and heather.

Table is set for a tasting experience

A duo of whisky was poured... a Highland Park 18yo to accompany a starter of smoked salmon and cheddar mixed with roast beef with rustic bread on the side - a lovely combo with the 18yo expression and no further comments needed as the Highland Park 18yo is a classic dram!

'Thor' was next and its natural cask strength of 52,1% abv made it go very nicely with the potato base, white cod and lumpfish roe. This dram still packs a mighty punch and notes on it can be found in the report from last years launch of it here.

A third and final glass was left empty when the first 2 were poured...this last one, of course being for the 'Loki' - but before we give this new expression a taste - let's find out what kind of guy Loki really was... and to help us find that out 2 external speakers - Flemming Kaul from the Danish National Museum and Morten Warmind from Copenhagen University.

Morten Warmind (left) Copenhagen University & Flemming Kaul from the Danish National Museum (right)

Where Thor is the God of the Heavens and Thunder and Odin is God of Wisdom, nobody can really place Loki in any realm although he's been know to shapeshift into almost any form of creature... but the main thing Loki always is associated with is fire - so is it possible -if anything- he's a God of Fire?

Nobody seems to be sure about Loki and -at least according to the old Norse Chronicles- he's once been dressed up as a bridesmaid, shifted in both birds and salmon and into a mare to give birth to Odin's horse 'Sleipnir' and at other times fathered both the wolf 'Fenrir' and the Midgard Serpent (World Serpent). Loki was also the main force behind the killing of Odin's favourite son - the God Balder. It was certainly exiting times back in Midgard...

Again with the 'Loki'-release, Highland Park aims to have the whisky reflect the character of the God... but how do you do this with a guy like Loki? This was, according to Martin, quite an extra challenge this time for Max Mcfarlane - the Highland Park whiskymaker as they wanted a whisky that would be multi faceted

Martin Markvardsen introducing the 'Loki'

Let's debunk the 'Loki' whisky with a bit of important -and not revealed before- info...

Highland Park 'Loki' 15yo 48,7%, 21000 bottles, Distillery Bottling

Made up of all refill sherry casks and malt was dried with mainland peat only giving it a bit more edge, not the usual more aromatic Orkney style peat.

Colour is full gold

Citrus and a thin layer of peat, spices, hint of cumin and aniseed, very fresh with salt and ozone- but with a certain depth to it as well. Also a lovely sweetness to it, like honey and oranges.

First a sweet mid tongue arrival on honey and fresh citrus fruits. Then a rush of spice, mainly peppery in style and then a return again of the lovely citrus fruits and then fades on creamy malt and soft yet noticeable smoke.

This is a great follow-up to the 'Thor' from last year... even better! ...and certainly a whisky that challenges your palate somewhat with its facets.

Tastings notes done from sample on fresh palate as the 'Loki' was served a piece of lamb and tartar and capers and roasted rye bread.



Finally, thank you to Martin Markvardsen for the invitation to the launch!

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