Saturday 14 November 2015

Highland Park Valhalla Collection "Odin" Hong Kong Launch (Tasted #225)

A year ago to the day, we posted our write-up of the Highland Park "Freya" Hong Kong launch (which, due to an unfortunate shipping hold-up didn't actually feature any Freya, but had something much rarer instead), and today we're following up with the final whisky in the Highland Park Valhalla Collection - the "Allfather" Odin.

Following Loki, Thor and Freya, Odin rounds out the collection with a big, robust 55.8% dram befitting of the powerful Norse god. Launched earlier this year in the UK, last week saw the whisky finally released in Hong Kong (in very limited numbers, no doubt).

Held at Hong Kong's iconic Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, the night kicked off with Champagne-style cocktails (made with Highland Park 12), before drams of Hong Kong's favourite Dark Origins were served.

After a few of said cocktails, some amazing mini-cigar chocolates, and some time spent admiring the various bottles dotted around the room (including the 30yo, Freya, Loki, Thor and others), Highland Park's Global Brand Ambassador Daryl Haldane took the stage to present the reason we were all there.

Talking us through Highland Park's history (from it's Orkney Islands home and their Norse heritage, to the Highland Park's early days as an illicit distiller, through to the current day), Daryl gave an interesting insight into the unique and unusual northern Scottish distillery. Then, in a flurry of simulated lightning, the Odin rose from the floor as drams were handed around the room.

See below for our thoughts.

Highland Park Valhalla Collection "Odin" (55.8% ABV, 16yo, Orkney, Scotland, £180 RRP (sold out) / HK pricing TBD)
Colour: Dark orange-amber.
Nose: Definite spice - cinnamon and cloves, with a hint of smoke and some orange peel After 10-15min, some bitter chocolate notes develop.
Palate: A decent amount of smoke (not typical "peaty" smoke like an Islay peated whisky - a more subtle, earthy smoke, likely due to the use of Orkney peat). Big malty characteristics and lots of bitter cocoa and nutty notes.
Finish: Long and charred - some residual spice, a hint of sweetness and brazil nuts. Subtle smoke to the end.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 93/100. Very good - complex, and ever-changing (the nose especially changed over 20 minutes or so). Clearly sherried, but not a typical "sherry bomb". I'd probably buy bottle if available at retail.

After a decent chat with Daryl (who was a great bloke and full of stories) it was time to call it a night, but not before one quick photo (also with David Vitale (of Starward / New World Whisky Distillery) who was in town for a few days.

David Vitale (of Starward / New World Whisky Distillery, Highland Park Global Brand Ambassador Daryl Haldane and Martin.


Another big thanks to Edrington HK and Lee Wolter PR for another enjoyable launch.

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