The 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!