Pow­er­ful Pours

The High­land Park Val­halla Col­lec­tion fin­ishes on a high note

Hong Kong Tatler - - Tater Focus -

The nec­tar of the gods may be re­stricted to Norse mythol­ogy, but you can still enjoy a lit­tle taste of the divine thanks to award-win­ning Scot­tish dis­tillery High­land Park, which re­cently de­buted the fourth and fi­nal whisky in its Val­halla Col­lec­tion. Fol­low­ing Thor in 2012, Loki in 2013 and Freya in 2014, Odin is an in­tense whisky that aims to cap­ture the pow­er­ful god’s unique char­ac­ter­is­tics.

“There is no one else who can come last to fin­ish off the col­lec­tion—it had to be Odin,” says Daryl Hal­dane, global brand ad­vo­cate for High­land Park. Chan­nel­ing the revered Norse god, who is said to have sac­ri­ficed an eye in or­der to gain the wis­dom of the ages, the dis­tillery’s Odin whisky fea­tures in­tense and com­plex flavours.

Cre­at­ing a whisky that would re­flect Odin’s dom­i­nant char­ac­ter­is­tics was cer­tainly a chal­lenge, but the dis­tillery rose to the oc­ca­sion. The re­sult is a pow­er­ful 16-year-old sin­gle malt fea­tur­ing High­land Park’s trade­mark smoky aroma, as well as heavy notes of peat and Span­ish oak.

“It’s un­usual for High­land Park to dial up that Span­ish oak and the peat at the same time—this is like an at­tack on your senses really, the way it comes to­gether,” says Hal­dane.

Also known as the All-fa­ther, the leg­endary Odin was said to be par­tic­u­larly wise and fierce, so the dis­tillery chose to age the whisky in Span­ish oak casks to re­flect the god’s char­ac­ter. “Be­cause Odin is the top dog, we put it at slightly higher strength at 55.8 per cent ABV—SO it really packs a punch,” he adds.

In­flu­enced by Orkney’s unique land and cli­mate, High­land Park whiskies tend to show­case sweet and gen­tle peaty aro­mas. Odin hasn’t strayed too far from the dis­tillery’s sig­na­ture at­tributes, al­though it’s more in­tense than usual. “In Odin, you have this pow­er­ful peat and still get that smoky flavour, plus lovely Span­ish oak, and lots of fruit and spices,” says Hal­dane.

The dis­tillery’s cre­ative and care­fully crafted Val­halla Col­lec­tion aims to com­bat the per­cep­tion of whisky as a pre­dictable, tra­di­tional spirit. “Some­times it’s a bit dif­fi­cult to do any­thing that is a bit more out­ra­geous and ex­cit­ing, and that’s all that we really want to do—ruf­fle a few feath­ers and break the norm, but still tell a her­itage story,” says Hal­dane.

By draw­ing on Norse mythol­ogy for the col­lec­tion, the Scot­tish dis­tillery si­mul­ta­ne­ously show­cases its own her­itage. Founded more than 200 years ago by Magnus Eun­son, a Scots­man of Nor­we­gian de­scent, the dis­tillery re­sides off the north­east coast of Scot­land in the Orkney archipelago, which was set­tled by Vik­ings in the late ninth cen­tury and ruled by Nor­way un­til the late 1400s. Still to­day, about a third of Orkney res­i­dents are ac­tu­ally direct de­scen­dants of Nordic coun­tries.

“There are lots of peo­ple who are not whisky fans and don’t really con­sume whisky,” says Hal­dane. “They bought the col­lec­tion sim­ply be­cause they just liked it—they liked the pack­ag­ing and the sto­ry­telling.”

words of wis­dom Daryl Hal­dane, global brand ad­vo­cate for High­land Park

swan­song High­land Park chose Odin, an in­tense, 16-year-old sin­gle malt, to con­clude the Val­halla Col­lec­tion

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