Highland Park officially introduces its new core range addition, the Highland Park 15 Year Old Viking Heart, to Singapore.
The Vikings of old were generally considered as brutish seafaring raiders from Scandinavia who plundered their way through much of Europe and beyond, so it’s too easy to forget there’s a strong code of honour its fierce warriors held to heart. Courage was one, especially on the battlefield. Truth, fidelity, and discipline were core tenets as well.
But that Viking code was something Orkney-based Highland Park – a distillery with deep Viking roots – took very seriously. It’s why its original Highland Park 12 Year Old, first introduced in 1979, was named Viking Honour. Then there’s the 18 Year Old launched in 1997 called Viking Pride.
Fast forward some 24 years to 2021, and now there’s Highland Park 15 Year Old Viking Heart that was just added to its core range.
It’s been a long time coming.
Bottled at 44% ABV, the Highland Park 15 Year Old Viking Heart is matured mostly in sherry-seasoned American and European oak casks, as well as a few refill casks, very much like its siblings the Viking Honour and Viking Pride. The oak casks provide the warm, spicy notes and the vanilla while the refill casks allows for some of the heather peat and fruit to come through.
“Our insistence on specially constructed sherry casks delivers a richness of flavour,” insisted Gordon Motion, Highland Park’s Master Whisky Maker. “Vanilla and citrus notes lead and combine with the unique fragrant peat and creamy mouthfeel synonymous with Highland Park. The hand selection of quality first-fill and refill casks for Highland Park 15 Year Old delivers a rich colour which is 100% natural. (The Viking Heart) retains more of the compounds which deliver a whisky with extra body and enhanced mouthfeel.”
Big question. Does the Viking Heart taste mostly like the 12 Year Old, or come close to the crowd favourite 18 Year Old?
According to official tasting notes, the nose includes aromas of charred cinnamon and the famous smoke from Orkney’s heather peat. The mouth has vanilla sponge cake, sun-kissed lemon zest, fresh pineapple and heather honey while the finish ends with some aromatic peat smoke.
The new Viking Heart offers some sweet fruit and raisins on the nose, provided us with some citrus fruit and candy (probably toffee) in the mouth and ended with some spice, more white pepper than peat. With some air, the whisky mellows and can end up tasting sweeter in the mouth. At least for us. The 18 Year Old has the advantage of a longer time in the cask that help round out flavours further and take the edge of alcohol burn.
So in that sense, the 15 Year Old is closer in taste and experience to the 12 Year Old.
For those into aesthetics, unlike its sibling expressions the Viking Heart comes in a ceramic bottle, inspired by earthernware vessels that would have been used to store whisky at the distillery in the past. The ceramic bottle is lead-free, 100% food safe, glazed both inside and outside, and comes embossed with the familiar Highland Park lion and serpent livery.
We’d buy this just as an additional showpiece on our whisky mantle.
Pricing and availability
The Highland Park 15 Year Old Viking Heart is available for retail at 1855 The Bottle Shop and selected Oak Cellars for S$149. Each purchase comes with complimentary flowers to upcycle the ceramic bottle post-drinks. Those who love branded merch will love the complimentary Highland Park embossed leather whisky carrier (while stocks last), the perfect companion for your days of sailing and pillaging, or however your work is done in these strange, endemic times (just remember to follow the Viking code).
Otherwise Viking Heart is also available from Asher BWS, Guild Collective and SimplyWhisky.sg.
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