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Highland Park Svein

Average score from 3 reviews and 3 ratings 82

Highland Park Svein

Product details

  • Brand: Highland Park
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • Series: Warrior Series
  • ABV: 40.0%

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Highland Park Svein

With a recent review of the HP Valknut (which until recently I thought was a made up parody name), I was inspired to dig into my samples for another NAS Viking themed HP to review.

I was lucky enough to receive this from @Fiddich1980 last July, the 18th to be specific. It was our first sample swap and he just reminded me that we did a “my worst for your worst” exchange as part of it. My worst? Lambertus, of course. I won that one…

I don’t know much about HP’s Warrior Series, but this is part of it.

This expression, in a standard Glencairn, is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.

Nose: 20/25

Very sweet. Sherry nose. Vegetal peat with an umami note. Is there sulphur? Sometimes I have trouble differentiating between vegetal peat and sulphur. It’s not unpleasant but I could do without it. Not very complex. Water brings out the vegetal aspect, maybe a hint of boiled cabbage. (19/25)

Taste: 19/25

Fairly dry, slightly sour in the development. Some sherry, some peat, not very interesting or complex. Thin and weak. Water makes it a bit hotter. It may be the power of suggestion (@Fiddich1980) but there’s a hot raw ginger note. (18.5/25)

Finish: 21/25

Pretty short, sweet. More bitter with water. (20/25)

Balance: 20/25

Nose and palate are simple but complimentary.

Score: Neat - 80/100 With Water: 77.5/100

I hate to give bad reviews to whiskies that were given to me as samples by friends (I don’t want to appear ungrateful), but something tells me my benefactor wasn’t expecting me to give this a 90. Also, I am an admitted whisky snob. I am trying to learn to appreciate non-premium whiskies, and in doing so I’ve found things to enjoy outside my normal comfort zone. But this isn’t one of them.

Thanks @Fiddich1980 for letting me try this one.

@Nozinan I, too had a sample from a friend who was similarly unenthusiastic. My reaction was very much like yours. I think you were generous at 80 points. This kind of stuff is getting to be a very generic HP house style. Not sure who they are trying to appeal to these days with this relentless outpouring of bland, uninteresting weaklings with silly names. I'm sure the raping and pillaging Vikings they are referencing would demand something a lot stronger after a hard day on the job.


The Warrior Series from Highland Park consists of (bar mistake on my part) six expressions: Einar, Harald, Ragnvald, Sigurd, Svein and Thorfinn. I tried the Einar last summer, but was quite underwhelmed. I wonder if this Svein does any better. Svein was quite a legendary Viking leader, known in the Orkeyinga Saga as a man of adventure and good humor. Errr… the nose is quite introvert. I get some sweet malt and acacia honey, but little else at first. Maybe some pineapple? This needs some hand warmth. Okay, some more aromas emerge now. Skins of apple, vanilla and some woodsmoke. Loads of earthy notes. But the whole is pretty quiet. Ouch, the arrival is very weak. Almost watery. Some Seville oranges, a bit zesty even, but then only some ginger, malt and a hint of smoke. Pencil shavings? This is no warrior. A bit of a letdown. Actually, not a bit, but a big letdown.

The finish is short on smoke and some oak.

It is not better than the Einar. On the contrary. This is probably one of the least interesting modern HPs I have tried so far. Thanks, Pat!

I fully agree "big let down". The ginger note is more like ginger that has dried up in the fridge crisper and gone rancid. I tried mixing it in a cocktail and the it only accentuated this off note. The bottle was a gift and so at least there is no regrets.


Highland Park Svein is a member from the Warrior Series (for travel retail) by Highland Park. Svein is one of the three newest members of the overall six. Unlike it's two brothers Harald and Einar, Svein gets its name from the hospitable and generous nature of many of the Viking leaders.

It is definitely the lighter version when compared to the other viking (Einar) of the Warrior Series. Like a young viking boy, full of barley.

That's why I decided to call Highland Park Svein the "Pathfinder". A movie, where a young viking boy is seeking his place. It might as well be Svein.

Nose: Lightly floral with bits of peat and smoke very deeply in the background. Citrus and especially barley comes through.

Taste: Sweet vanilla is the main character. Oak and barley in the back. Not as strong from the palate as Einar but stronger than Harald.

Finish: Strongly oaky, a bit floral and earthly. Spicy and lingering.

Balance: This differs quite a bit from it's brothers, though it has that similar HP deep smoke like Einar. Harald is the delicate one and Einar the strongest (of course, he's the feared viking). Svein is the runner up after Einar. Nice stuff.

That's a good question. The 40% ABV level does make a difference in this case. I'd surely take the more powerful stuff: 12YO or 18YO or some of their specialties like the vintage 2001 connosr.com/reviews/highland-park/…

I'm not sure but I think that there's not much difference in price either. I think that Svein is the only one with a bit over 40 euro litre price. Harald and Einar are more expensive which would leave 12YO even more affordable.

Still, in overall, Highland Park seems to achieve a good standard in everything they do!

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