Odin, the Valfather – father of the slain and of the Aesir, the very Norse gods themselves. It is his name that graces the end of the Highland Park Viking Legends trilogy; a bright, fruity and complex single malt from the wilds of Orkney, in the long Viking tradition of Scotland’s northernmost distillery. Crafted using whisky matured exclusively in refill casks, Valfather is also Highland Park’s most heavily peated release to date.
Robust, but refined smoke fills the nose initially followed by delicate vanilla, Conference pears, green apple skins and a heady, heavy floral richness. Underneath there’s cedarwood, honeycomb, spice from black pepper and nutmeg, as well as salted caramel before the heathery peat makes itself known. A sprightly sea breeze note emerges with time.
Simultaneously huge and yet elegant, the palate is beautifully integrated. Layers of creamy vanilla, apricot yoghurt and a helping of crème brûlée interplay with notes of incense burners, iron and salted almonds. Then there’s bitter orange marmalade, charred wood and dried earth among touches of cacao powder, toffee apples and smoked paprika.
Long and confident. The floral smoke lingers for an age but is offset by tropical fruit and black pepper.