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Highland Park started a new limited quartet (similar to their Saint Magnus trilogy) called Valhalla Collection. In the best story-telling tradition, all four will be named after Norse legends and gods and the first one is Highland Park Thor. Loki, Freia and Odin will follow later.
The whisky is 16 years old, cask strength ('Thor' strength) and it’s presented in an impressive boat-like wooden frame. For more information, head over to the official website Whisky of the Gods.
Nose: the first thing that strikes me is its sweetness (as I don’t associate sweetness to a God like Thor). I get peach jam, stewed yellow plums, vanilla, barley sugars. Candied ginger. Over time the peatiness and sooty smoke move forward. I like this combination a lot, it’s fresh and relatively powerful at the same time.
Mouth: punchy, with a more earthy kick of peat and smoke, but it retains this sweet coating of candied apples and pear candy. Quince jelly. Hints of cassis even. Dollops of honey. Vanilla biscuits. A faint salty twist.
Finish: long, still fruity (citrus) and subtle spices. Still a hint of smoke in the very end.
This is not just a nice packaging, it’s a rather fruity Highland Park, mixed nicely with some peat smoke and spices. It’s certainly a different style of HP but a lovely one. If you ask me this Valhalla Collection started off in a much better way than the previous trilogy already. It’s not all positive news though as it’s way overpriced, so in that respect I would have dropped the wooden frame.