Review: Highland Park Valknut
Highland Park’s second release in its Viking Legend series is here: Valknut. (Rhymes with hoot, not nut. The Valknut is a ) As a refresher, HP’s Valkyrie hit in summer 2017. Like Valkyrie, Valknut is a non-age statement single malt. The twist here: The whisky is aged in sherry-seasoned American oak casks, and finds “the addition of Orkney’s local Tartan barley to the kiln.”
What’s a Valknut? “It means ‘knot of those killed in battle’ and is represented visually by three interlinked triangles. This symbol is closely associated with the Norse god Odin, who guided the spirits of the dead to Valhalla.”
Let’s give it a spin.
There’s a lot of cereal on the nose — any sherry or peat influence is moderated, with barrel char and a modest, iodine-like maritime note dominating. It’s got classic Highland Park elements, but everything feels dialed back and quite youthful on the whole. The palate is initially a bit hot, though some gentle, sherry-driven citrus emerges to temper the cereal notes. This becomes a bit lemony in time, more clearly so with a drop of water. The finish remains toasty and a bit green, with pastoral heather notes. It’s all fairly clean, but ultimately largely innocuous — a representation of youthful Highland Park without a lot of flourish.