In high school I had a friend named Freya. And, until recently, I’d not come across or heard the name for years. The trigger? The third release of Highland Park’s Valhalla collection, bearing the same name.
This made me think back on my friends over the years and made me realise my high school set all had names I’ve not heard in others…well…ever. There was a Fergil. And a Marynia. And a Talya, a Regan, a Gwendolyn, a Jaipaul…and, me…an Alwynne. Strange, in retrospect, but not at the time. At the time these were just people I surrounded myself with.
From here, my brain started thinking more on friendships and I realised one thing: this whisky release from Highland Park is dedicated to the Norse God of Love and on this day of ‘love’ (Valentine’s Day, in case you weren’t paying attention to the date folks), as the memories of times gone by came flooding back, I couldn’t help but think just how much I love my friends.
I won’t get any more mushy.
Just thought I’d throw it out there.
Maybe it was the whisky, maybe it was the sentiment, but a good bit of reflecting, photo album perusing and further dramming continued after I got on this route. All thanks to Freya.
So who is this enigmatic whisky being that got Miss Whisky on the route to self-reflection?
Well, Freya – as mentioned – follows up on last year’s whisky in the Valhalla Collection, Loki, which was one of my Top Drams of 2013.
This new release is 15 years old and has been bottled at 51.2%. It is being packaged in the same wooden frame reflecting a viking ship that both Thor and Loki were released in.
Here’s what I thought:
Highland Park Freya: 51.2%: £140:
(c): Golden mustard
(n): Very gentle nose, with initial notes of sea salt, dark chocolate, red berries (cranberries?), and a bit of menthol, along with burning logs and vanilla toasted marshmallows. With water, nose becomes slightly more fruity with the red berry notes really coming to the fore for me.
(p): Earthier and waxier on the palate than the nose would suggest. Good, rich palate with notes of blackberries, red liquorice, wet earth, rye bread, candle wax, peppercorns and cedar trees. With water, becomes a bit more bitter and reminds me of the aftertaste of a rye bread. Preferred without water personally.
(f): Cocao powder.
In conclusion, this is a really well layered dram with good complexity. Lots of intensity resides on the palate, which surprised me because – even at 51.2% – I found the nose pretty gentle. Very earthy and rich, but can’t quite beat the Loki for me. Still, I’d happily be friends with this whisky. As such, a dram raised to friends, and the love they enrich our lives with, this Valentine’s Day.