Highland Park 15, “Loki”

LokiThe Loki is the second issue in Highland Park’s so-called “Valhalla Collection”. Named for Norse deities (Thor was the first), the whiskies in this series are overpriced, theoretically limited (you decide whether 21,000 bottles of the Loki is “limited”) and ludicrously packaged (see here) and naturally quite sought after. Despite my love of Highland Park (one of my five favourite distilleries) I have not felt the temptation to pay for these whiskies. I’m very happy therefore to be able to taste and review a sample of the Loki.

Highland Park 15, “Loki” (48.7%; from a sample shared by a friend)

This sample was poured by my friend Rich from a bottle opened a few months ago and not depleted very much since.

Nose: Rather acidic; in fact, more sour than acidic. There’s some apple peels, some brine, and a hint of smoke. With some time the brine gets more salty and there’s a mild almondy sweetness below it. Not terribly impressive at first. (Let’s see if the palate has more interesting things to say.) With more time there’s just the faintest hint of dried orange peel. With even more time the citrus expands some more and it gets also much more savoury (ham). A drop of water emphasizes the savoury, briny, leathery notes.

Palate: Ok, I like the palate a lot more. Briny, gunpowdery smoke leading into malty sweetness and then a big wave of salt. Under the salt there’s some citrus and apricot. With more time there’s a nice leatheriness to go with the dirty/gunpowdery/peaty aspect but also more floral notes and the fruit gets more tropical. Water brings out a sweet minerally quality and expands the tropical fruit quality.

Finish: Medium-long. The salt is dominant but the apricot lingers as well. With time and water, a lot more citrus and some sweet, gunpowdery smoke.

Comments: This one changed on me as I was drinking it. I was not impressed at first. The nose takes a while to get going and once it does it’s in line with aspects of current Longrow and more palpably peated Clynelish. Not quintessential Highland Park but rather good. I’m not sure I like it enough to shell out the asking price, but I might have to think about it. Oh wait, the asking price is $250, not $150! There’s no way in hell I’m paying anywhere close to $250 for this.

Rating: 88 points.

Many thanks to Rich again for the sample!

10 thoughts on “Highland Park 15, “Loki”

    • Um, I don’t really know. This is higher strength, but not even the Edrington Group would ask for $200 more just for upping the abv slightly. The regular 15 has more American oak in the vatting than the 12 and 18, I believe. Not sure what the make-up of the Loki is. It is peatier than all in the regular lineup for sure. Plus it comes in that ridiculous longship.

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  1. By the way, I quite like the regular 15 (though I seem to be in a minority there). But the Loki is much better. I’d have to talk myself into it $150 though; at $120 I’d be all over it; at $250, no fucking way.

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  2. I’m an HP fan for many years, but they lost me on this release. The packaging is so stupid. I see it on the self with that ridiculous price tag ever time I go to my favorite whisky shop. They will have the bottle forever. Maybe I’ll buy it in ten years.

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  3. The bottom line is that it’s unabashedly geared towards collectors, which nowadays means they can build and ark around the whisky and charge an arm anda leg for it. Actually on the website they call the wooden casing “award winning.” Maybe its nonchillfiltered with no colorant, but its only 15 years old; what it makes it special as a whisky? They dont tell you on the website only that it was exsherry, exheavilypeated casks. Actually they have the nerve to call the wooden casing “award winning.” I just had to say that again. Everything with the whisky industry is a giant mystery. it is an insult to anoraks.

    One last point – the website states that hp is “arguably the most respected single malt in the world.” Heres a little tip for marketing departments, self-proclaimed titles hold no weight! It’s kind of like believing that Michael Jordan actually wears hanes underwear. I might have to go on a little hp boycott here and i was jonesing to get my hands on the 18 yr old.

    End rant

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