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.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014


Just like last year, for the DK lauch of the Highland Park 'Loki', the weather was great when I headed to Copenhagen to attend the launch of this years release in the Valhalla series, the long awaited 'Freya'.
The short 40min domestic flight to get to Copenhagen from here was smooth as 25yo Highland Park and after a delicious lunch, I had had a walk through some iconic parts of our nations capitol, snapping some pictures on the way.

Whisky and Viking jewelry - Pictures courtesy of Holm & Bertung - pics by Emil Monty Freddie
I then headed across the city bridge to 'Christianhavn' and had a coffee to go and enjoyed the sun a bit by one of the canals there before heading to the Michelin rated Restaurant 'Kadeau' for the event hosted by Highland Park Brand Ambassador Martin Markvardsen and guest speaker Jim Lyngvild who was there to give his view on who Freya was and what she would be would be like in the modern world.
Jim is know for his impressive traditional viking long house inspired home and his general fascination with all things viking, while at the same time possessing an ability to give great twist to already existing stories - this days twist was that the focus person 'Freya' -according to historical records- may not have Norse in her origins at all, but rather from a region in further down in Europe.
Jim Lyngvild gives his take on who 'Freya' really was - Pictures courtesy of Holm & Bertung - pics by Emil Monty Freddie
To accompany the food a couple of Highland Parks from the travel retail series were served as appetisers before 'Freya' was presented - those were;
Highland Park 'Svein' NAS 40%, Distillery Bottling (travel retail)
Only a few general notes were taken on this, but very pleasant, especially since its the entry level bottling for Highland Park's travel retail range...

Very fresh, citrus (orange),vanilla and fruits, malt and aromatic smoke.

Tastes very fresh - again with vanilla, burst of citrus fruits, spices and a good smoky arrival mid palate. I'd call this a playful and very aperitif style and very lively whisky and certainly much better than expected and reputed, IMO.

Not scored as it was served with food

Highland Park 'Einar' NAS 40%, Distillery Bottling (travel retail)

Very similar to the 'Svein' but slightly heavier in style. I review the expression in full last summer in end of June.

Again, not scored on the day as it was served with food.

The 'Einar' review can be found by following this link.
Camilla and Martin from Edrington DK presenting the 'Freya' - Pictures courtesy of Holm & Bertung - pics by Emil Monty Freddie
Now lets try the latest release in the Highland Park Valhalla-collection...

Highland Park 'Freya' 15yo 51,2%, 19000 bottles, Distillery bottling

This is a bottling a bit out of the usual style for Highland Park as it comes from 100% 1st fill ex-bourbon casks.

Tasted at home from a 5cl sample

Colour is full straw

Vanilla, ginger, tropical and citrus fruit (pineapple, orange and lemon) , bit of smoke and floral hints (rose and lavender?) and danish honey on toast. The nose gets a lot more malty with extra time in the glass.

Orange and raspberry, ginger again but also a spicy oak nip - a clear influence from the 1st fill ex-bourbon casks. More tropical fruit and Galia and honey dew melon comes along and bring juicy barley and a whiff of smoke before turning into spicy again. The 'Freya' carries a lingering alcohol and, surpisingly, another burst of peat on your lips and tongue before disappearing with a medium length finish.

I'm guessing this is not a dram for everyone. You have to like the nipping oak and spices from the 1st fill ex-bourbon casks to really appreciate this one (and I do). On the other hand, I don't find this one quite as good as either the 'Thor' or the 'Loki', but its still close to its brethren and still very good whisky - so good I had to secure a bottle.

As with the Highland Park 'Loki', the malt used to produce this was peated with Orkney peat, but matured mainly at the Edrington warehouses in Glasgow, rather than on Orkney.
Originally destined for the blending vats, the casks making up this bottling was considered by Edrington to be too good to let that happen and 'Freya' is a result of this...


The featured bottles of March 13th 2014 @ Kadeau in Copenhagen - Pictures courtesy of Holm & Bertung - pics by Emil Monty Freddie
Finally, thanks to Martin Markvardsen for this additional info and to Edrington DK & Holm & Bertung for the invitation to the event. Also thanks to the team at Restaurant 'Kadeau' for providing us with delicious norse inspired courses.

1 comment:

  1. HP have made beautiful and memorable whisky. But when the whisky is draped in glamour and trinkets; when pathos is used excessively to romanticise and seduce us; when the whisky itself moves to the background; I say nay thank you. I'm not quickened by painted whores nor fancy women who are overly dressed. I yearn for natural beauty and honest appearance. Such as HP was once.