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The Norseman Leif Eriksson was the first European to set foot on the American continent (eat your heart out, Columbus!), starting settlements in Labrador and Newfoundland in the early 11th Century. Highland Park introduced this limited release to the Duty Free range (although it is easy to find in regular stores as well) in 2011. It is a special HP as it only contains whisky from American oak, both bourbon and sherry casks, while the standard range matured on European oak. I tasted this at a very special location indeed, the Lars Homestead near Nefta, Tunisia, that I had just restored with a couple of friends. But that is another story (see www.savelars.com).
The nose is light and fragrant on oats, dried grass, earth and fruit. The fruit is primarily melon, pears and prunes. The whole is sprinkled with a pinch of salt. Rather spicy on pepper, vanilla and oak. I even get some fir needles.
On the palate, this turns out to be a lightweight. Very malty and sweet. Again some oak, vanilla and salt, closely followed by the fruit, joined by a lot of citrus. But the body leaves a lot to be desired.
The finish is short on sweet oak.
This certainly is not a bad whisky, but it is not a high flyer either. And it is not the conditions in which I tasted it, since I re-tasted it today. For that price (approx. 70 EUR) you can find much better HP.