Highland Park Valknut
Peated Single Malt — Islands, Scotland
Reviewed August 4, 2022
Nose: Warm sherry-tinged sweet smoke, musky raisins, herbal notes, a touch of honey, leather and dark ale or stout. After a while a lemon aroma comes forward and there is a fresh, coastal quality throughout. With the addition of water I get mashed “nips and neeps” (turnip and rutabaga to you foreigners) which might sound awful but it’s a delicious vegetal note. The dry glass aroma is classic Highland Park smoky honeypot. Palate: Oily smoke with spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and pepper), developing into fruity flavours (stewed apple with cloves, dates and figs) with a hint of vanilla, salted caramel and liquorice. The texture is oily and mouth-coating. The addition of water softens the spice notes just a little and brings out sweetness. It also changes the character of the smoke, making it softer and giving it more texture and an agreeable “mouth-filling” quality. Finish: Medium/long. Fruity smoke. A little leafy walnut-skin bitterness in the aftertaste but the final impression is of ale. Water brings a hint of sherry to the aftertaste. Highland Park goes slightly Islay, and does it pretty well. This one is a little more smoky than most Highland Park expressions and the quality of the smoke is more akin to Islay maritime than Orcadian maritime, but the smoke does not overpower either the distillate or the sherry cask influences. Water is not essential but highly recommended as it reveals facets of both nose and palate that you will otherwise miss. This obviously has a foundation of younger whisky, I’d guess 5-8 years maybe, however there is clearly some older spirit in the blend as well which is contributing depth and fullness to the profile. There is certainly nothing about it that screams lack of maturity and it’s definitely better than the earlier Valkyrie release in this series. The only issue I have is with the price, which is just a little steep. “Very Good” : 85/100 (4 stars)
140.0 AUD per Bottle
Glad you liked this. Not sure if there’s batch variation but I wasn’t a big fan of bottle. Have it a low score. Felt very formulaic (or as @CKarmios would say, “painting by the numbers”). I still have about 90% left, which I’ll likely give away if it’s doesn’t improve with time. Currently residing in the back of my “shelf”!