GSN Review: Highland Park Valknut Whisky

Highland Park recently announced the release of a new special ­edition single­ malt Scotch whisky: Valknut. In partnership with renowned Danish designer Jim Lyngvild, Highland Park Valknut is the second in a series of three Viking Legends releases inspired by the rich Viking heritage and mythology of Highland Park’s Orkney Islands home.

The first expression, Valkyrie, was released in mid-2017. Viking sagas tell of the Valkyries, the fierce angels of Norse mythology who combed the battlefields for the bravest fallen warriors. Vikings who met an honorable death were marked out by the symbol of the Valknut and spirited away by the Valkyries to Valhalla to join Odin’s mighty army and prepare for Ragnarok, the battle of the end of the world.

Valknut means “knot of those killed in battle” and is represented visually by three interlinked triangles. This symbol is closely associated with the Norse god Odin, who guided the spirits of the dead to Valhalla. Designer Jim Lyngvild says, “The story of the Valknut is compelling and I wanted to ensure that the design feature of this packaging was a fitting match to the whisky created by Master Whisky Maker Gordon Motion. Also, as Valknut is part of a series of three expressions, I made sure that there is continuity in the style of the packaging; for example, the frieze design at top is consistent in look, but the story of the symbol has been brought to the front panel.”

“Valknut is a bolder, more intense style of Highland Park with a drier and smokier profile and a higher ABV than Valkyrie. It has been matured predominantly in American sherry seasoned oak casks with a slightly higher phenolic level compared to Valkyrie,” says Jason Craig, Highland Park’s Global Brand Director. “We’ve also used a small amount of Orkney ­grown tartan barley, which adds to its smokier edge and lingering sweet, spicy finish.”

Highland Park Valknut will be succeeded by Valfather, the final expression in the Viking Legends trilogy.

Highland Park Valknut Whisky (93.6 proof)
Visual: Light gold.
Nose: Smoke-forward nose with a light sherry top note. Friendly, approachable and very much akin to the previous iteration in this trio of whiskies.
Taste: A fair amount of spice gives added weight to the blend of sweet malt and smokey barley. There is an overall light, dry and tight flavor profile which wraps the whisky in a blanket of autumnal warmth.
Finish: Lingering notes are of fading sweetness, and a hint of creosote.
Overall: A welcome addition to the Viking Legends portfolio. This is a more aggressive and semi-rustic brother to Valkyrie. Like night and day in terms of similarity. We can’t wait to see what the Valfather expression is like.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Highland Park Whisky