Highland Park Valknut is the second release in Highland Park’s Viking Legend series. Valknut—from the old Norse “valr” meaning “slain warriors” and “knut”, “knot”—was a symbol consisting of three interlocked triangles that was thought to invoke the presence of Odin, thus transporting the fallen to the feasting halls of Valhalla. The whisky may just have the same benefit. An Island single malt distilled in Orkney’s Highland Park, Valknut has been matured in American oak casks that are sherry seasoned. A small amount of Orkney-grown Tartan barley was added to the maturation to impart a smoky quality to the whisky. Upon opening the Valknut, vanilla, cracked black pepper, cloves, aniseed, and an aromatic smoke greet the nose. As for taste, the palate will experience a sweet sensation mixed with aromatic cloves and the tang of aniseed. The whole experience wraps up with a lingering peat smoke and sweet spice.
The Viking Legend series comes as a result of a collaboration between the Orkney distillery and Danish designer Jim Lyngvild—a descendant of Vikings and of the first Earl of Orkney, Jim’s 36th great grandfather. Jim used two Nordic sources in Gotland, Sweden, as inspiration for the packaging: the four Stora Hammars stones and the picture stone at Tangelgarda. Valknut is being released without an age statement and will have an ABV of 46.8 percent. It will launch in more than 15 markets and will retail at $76.