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Highland Park Loki 15 Year Old Valhalla Collection

Average score from 3 reviews and 3 ratings 87

Highland Park Loki 15 Year Old Valhalla Collection

Product details

  • Brand: Highland Park
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • Series: Valhalla Collection
  • ABV: 48.7%
  • Age: 15 year old

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R
Highland Park Loki 15 Year Old Valhalla Collection

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.

Rating: 92

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.

Rating: 93

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!

R

Nose: Musty curtains, ocean brine, lemon, vinegar, caramel, dried fruit, lemon rind.

Palate: Stale week old bread, cardamom, all spice, bitter alcohol, corn syrup, viscous mouth feel.

Finish: Baker's chocolate (bitter), all spice, caramel, rancid butter, licorice, toasted barley.

If these tasting notes sound good to you, then you are a less picky drinker than I am.

Personally, I like the standard 15 Year Old Highland Park more than Loki. Yes, Loki is unusual, especially given HP's fairly consistent flavor profiles, but not necessarily all in a good way--ESPECICALLY FOR $255 American dollars.

I wonder who the trickster is here: Loki or Edrington? I wager the latter. HP's 18 year has slipped a great deal in quality over the past three years. And the Loki is not up to muster, IMO.

Yes, I would have written a kinder review if the price of Loki was around $125, where it should have been, even with the fancy wood carrying case. $255 for this whisky is a testament to the gimmickry in advertising can cause folks to pull out their wallets without really paying much attention to the finished product they are buying.

I don't feel my review is unfair given the fact that I paid the money for the scotch I am drinking and regretting having purchased. These words are the honest opinion of a man who paid the price. If you would like to believe professional critics (who sometimes get kickbacks of various sorts) over my views, then by all means go buy yourself a bottle in HPs new line of well packaged tricks. Knock yourself out.

The next one is Freya. Not sure how old it is. Thor, the first one, was sixteen years old, if I'm not mistaken. Loki was 15. I'm sure HP will keep pumping out 15 year old scotch for a pretty penny so long as people are willing to pay it. Maybe in a few years HP will release a 13 year old "Baldur" for $325. If you miss out on Loki and Freya, you always have another Norse god to look forward to.

As an Icelandic-American, Snorri Sturluson is in my family tree. I thoroughly enjoy reading about the Norse gods and I have written a novel in which they make guest appearances. Alas, it is not published. Two of my novels are published, however. I'm chalking up this latest whisky purchase to sentimentality. Then again, as a man who loves the Poetic Edda, I have more of an excuse than most people who bough Loki for over twice what it is worth.

I probably would have smoothed out this review (taken out some slightly harsh sections) if I could edit it. I was a little peeved when I wrote it. Feeling better now, although I'm still not crazy for the Loki. It certainly has more character (nose, mouth, finish) than the regular HP 15, although I am a fan of the regular 15 and that is perhaps why I was put off by the Loki. I expected it to be much much better and it simply was not at all. Ashamed as I am to admit it, I really do love the bottle and carrying case design. It's quite beautiful. Marketing works. And, yes, if I hadn't opened it, this one will certainly appreciate with time as a collector's item. This said, over the long haul, the bottles that appreciate the most are usually the best tasting scotches. I am thinking of the Ardbeg Provence and the Longrow 18 with 70's stock as I write these words . . . never tasted them and probably never will, but, alas, I have read about them.

I have not tasted the Freya. Tasted the Loki and the Thor though. I liked Thor the most. The Springbank 10 2012 bottling is very good. If you are ever in the States, Binnys of Chicago has some good deals on Highland Park indie bottlings. Ask for Joe on the Whisky Hotline. He knows his stuff, that's for sure. And he's honest, and says what he really thinks of the bottles, a rare quality in a salesperson.

I've never been to the Netherlands. Would like to travel there some day. I've met a few Dutch tourists in New York, Seattle, and Portland over the years. The women are easy on the eyes, as they say. I think Holland has a spiked gene pool like California. I just got back from San Diego. Same thing.

@galg

nose: Hmmm. quite interesting thing are going on here : some apples, waxy notes, with some wood, and quite floral as well. zesty lemon , oats, yet no smoke or peat that I can pick up.

Palate: Big palate, no doubt, starts buttery with Red apples sautéed in butter, then a rather interesting note of exotic fruit (papaya, guava, and a bit of red grapefruit) with a pinch of salt sprinkled over, then some smoke hits the palate with quite a bit of wood on the finish.

Finish : Wood, cooked apples , wood spices galore (cinnamon, and cloves).

Bottom line:

Fancy boat or no boat, this little HP is an excellent whisky, Rather different from the Thor, and a bit better IMHO. Complex enough, and highly enjoyable. Too bad it’s just to expensive for a 15 year old whisky, but today when NAS bottling (Alpha for example) are starting to show up with silly prices of 100 quid, this one doesn’t seem SO expensive… sad times indeed.

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