I find this fifteen year-old whisky has two distinct profiles: one directly from the bottle (savory) and the other after sitting for about 10-15 minutes in the glass (much sweeter).
Which do I prefer? Well, you might be surprised to hear the former. Either way, the relatively high ABV is quite smooth and easy to drink without water. In fact, I do not recommend adding water to Loki.
Here are my tasting notes (after 15 minutes in the glass):
Color: Glowing amber
Nose: Vanilla Skyr (Icelandic dairy product); honey comb; marzipan; cloves; nutmeg; almond milk.
Palate: Delightful full-bodied maltiness with a distinctly Northern profile; creamy caramel; nougat; marzipan once more; white chocolate; café latte with cinnamon.
Finish: Mid-tongue moves to front position (near the tip) and lasts quite long there; a tingle of nutmeg; honey suckle; ginger; and finally all-spice with a hint of clove cigarette on the death.
Here are my tasting notes fresh out of a newly opened bottle:
Nose: Cedar plank; smoked salmon; sea salt; uncured ham; raw oyster on the half shell; ocean brine; wet moss.
Palate: Sharp cheddar; chives; creamy caramel; marshmellow; lack of salt presence; lack of seaweed; wet basalt rocks; fir tinder; white salmon (from Alaska); Columbia river sturgeon caviar; antique leather car seat.
Finish: Stays on the mid-tongue longer and doesn't progress to the tip much at all; marzipan, lightly scalded milk (in a good way); Earl Grey tea; bergamot oil; orange peel. On the death: slightly musty muslin curtains with sea air.
You may notice that the "wet moss" and "musty curtain" impressions subside with oxygenation, as is normally the case with fine scotch whisky, especially from a newly opened bottle.
I am willing to brave these rough notes in order to enjoy the savory side of Highland Park's Loki upon first pouring this spritely bodied elixir.
The title of my review is taken from the Poetic Edda in the place where Loki confronts Freyja. Kind of fitting, don't you think, considering Highland Park's next whisky in its Valhalla series? Skal!
The savory elements are fading for good now. I will miss them but this bottle is still a kick ass whisky from the North. Well done, HP, well done!