The Viking Legend continues with Highland Park’s latest release
Highland Park is a distillery with a rich heritage. Of course, almost every distillery visitor centre will tell you something similar, but Highland Park has a heritage unlike any other in Scotland: Viking heritage. The Orkney Islands have only been part of Scotland for 600 years, having been ruled by Viking Earls for 600 years previous. Highland Park itself was founded by a direct Viking descendant, Magnus Eunson, in 1798. To this day, one in three islanders has Viking DNA. It’s this strong connection with ancestral roots that sets Highland Park apart as the single malt with Viking soul.
Highland Park Distillery Gates, High Park, Kirkwall
In 2017, alongside a complete brand refresh, Highland Park introduced the Viking Legend series with the launch of Highland Park Valkyrie. The first of a three-part journey into Norse mythology, Valkyrie was named for the avenging spirits who had the power to choose which Viking warriors would die in battle and be taken to join the army of the god Odin. The second release, Valknut, continues the saga, its name signifying the symbol that the Valkyries would place upon the warriors to mark them out.
Scene from the Stora Hammars featuring a Valknut
The Valknut symbol of three interlocking triangles plays an integral part of the design for this latest release, created by Danish designer Jim Lyngvild. The beautiful illustration of the battlefield featured on the bottle was created by Lyngvild for Valkyrie and appears again on Valknut alongside the eponymous ‘knot of valour’. The collaboration between Lyngvild and Highland Park is a perfect pairing, with Lyngvild’s ancestry tracing back to 8th century Vikings, including his 36th great grandfather, Ragnvald Eysteinsson, who was the 1st Earl of the Orkney Islands.
Danish designer Jim Lyngvild in his studio
While Highland Park Valkyrie was matured in a combination of first-fill American oak sherry, Bourbon and Spanish oak sherry casks as well as a selection of refill casks, Valknut has been predominantly matured in sherry seasoned American oak casks and was distilled using Orkeny-grown Tartan barley, giving the latest release a smokier edge than its predecessor.
Casks maturing in the Highland Park warehouse
Now available to order online at The Whisky Shop, Highland Park Valknut is bottled at the higher strength of 46.8% abv. The nose has toasted vanilla, cracked black pepper, cloves and aniseed with an aromatic smoke. The palate is sweet with aromatic cloves and tangy aniseed hints. The finish is incredibly balanced, with lingering peat smoke and sweet spice.