Highland Park Release ODIN, the last in the Valhalla series
What Highland Park say:
Gerry Tosh, Global Marketing Manager, says: “Odin, like its namesake, is an intense, powerful and complex whisky. Bottled at 55.8% ABV, it certainly lives up to the legend, a bold single malt higher in strength than Thor, Loki and Freya. In Odin, we have been able to add the final flourish to the Valhalla Collection, a stunning series of remarkable whiskies that offer affordability and exclusive collectability.”
“Now that Odin has joined the ranks of the other gods in the Valhalla Collection, the first chapter in this series is complete. However, the Norse legends of old may still offer us future intrigues.
With only 17,000 bottles released globally, this limited edition whisky comes housed in the same distinctive award winning wooden frame of Thor, Loki and Freya echoing the fearsome contours of a traditional Viking long ship. The bottle itself reflects Odin’s character – dark and imperfect and slightly battle worn.
What we say
I am really looking forward to trying this. As the last in the Valhalla series, I am expecting something really special. This bottle will sell out quickly, and has almost already done so in the UK, so if you want a bottle be quick!
Ahhh New plimsolls on polished wood gym halls, that’s how I find my rubber or sherry note if you prefer, I personally love this note, although it’s not for everyone. Very savoury on the nose, take a ham cook it with cloves for about 8 hours and then kick it about a fire pit, cover it in sage and take a sniff. That’s what you find on the nose. There is a salty meatiness to it that is soon met with aromatic sage and hot fiery cloves and a touch of carbolic soap.
The alcohol burn is right there in your face, this will be one hard hitting dram, but as I continue nosing there are baking spices, still hot with fresh grated ginger, cinnamon and a little nutmeg softening this slightly. There’s a hint of orange peel and tart rhubarb with puffs of smoke encircling it all. There are some jammy berry notes and rich Brazil nuts mingle with crushed walnut shells and there’s just a kiss of vanilla to finish.
First up is a powerful chilli tingle, the alcohol burn is quick to dissipate but the heat remains thanks to a mix of jalapenos, green and pink peppercorns and red chillies. It’s so intense and never really leaves the tongue, it’s all you can find for a while, and then the salted notes come through but far softer than on the nose, and although you have to really search for it, there are hints of rich, gritty cocoa nibs and dark coffee beans.
There is intense rich oak which dries the palate, and fresh tough leather, with just a touch of resin. The rich fruits from the nose make a welcome appearance with damson and stewed plums combining to bring a much needed sweet note. Dark sticky brambles picked from the railway and peat smoke wisp around the palate, leaving sooty, fruity kisses as they leave.
However now the peat has taken hold it’s not about to leave, rich steak and marmite gravy make themselves known, but the peat holds them back, so they leave all the flavour without ever dominating. But what of the baking spices? They suddenly make an appearance, it’s fleeting but the cinnamon is dusty and tingles at the back of the palate, while warming cloves bring rich buttery biscuit notes with pecans and bitter walnuts, once combined with the peat smoke there is a slightly burnt sugar edge.
Long, seriously long, and the longer you leave between sips, the more those dark sticky fruits come to the fore. There are soft fudge notes and the buttery notes from the biscuits soothe the tongue, don’t worry that it’s losing all of Odin’s power though as that peat smoke keeps on puffing away to the (very) bitter end.
What a whisky! This is not for the faint hearted, if you don’t like sherry, if you don’t like even a hint of sulphur this is not the whisky for you. If however, you love a whisky that keeps you guessing, that is big, meaty, smoky, and fiery hot the whole time, then you will love this! Highland Park had a lot to deliver, they wanted to finish the Valhalla series with a bang and boy have they done it! This dram is so complex it has more layers than an onion.
The savoury notes are phenomenal, they have balanced the heat perfectly, as it’s only just not too hot and when it needs calmed down, that’s when the fruit hits and those baking notes come through. The longer you leave it between sips, the gentle fudge notes come out to play and there is a slight vanilla hint. The oak is rich and tannic, that combined with the Brazil nuts, pecans and crushed walnut shells are drying and bitter and the peat is a fantastic addition to this, tempering the fire when it becomes almost too much and actually carrying the sweetness through.
I did wonder if this was going to be more hype than hero, but I take it all back, this really is in my opinion a spectacular whisky, at £180 it’s by no means cheap, it’s selling out fast, and many of those bottles will be auction bound. This is particularly sad because this is whisky that deserves, nay demands to be drank. This will not be a mediocre dram, you will love this or you will hate it. I love this, if you get the chance to try this then grab it with both hands you won’t be disappointed!
The first thing you notice is a massive hit of sherry, big, forceful and powerful. This eventually exits and leaves you with a large note of milk boiling on a campfire. Some citrus notes follow, mostly lemon and lime. Next up are large chocolate buttons, slightly warmed and melting. With each nosing something new appears, but each of them invite you to take a sip.
Bang, this just explodes in the mouth, there’s fire, burning embers, sweetness and some sour notes, it has everything. On second tasting a sweet saltiness comes through, like well cooked bacon, citrus notes from the nose are still present and compliment the saltiness. Rubber notes now from a burning pile of car tyres, hot and fiery. Once the rubber has left some sweetness comes through, nothing too grand, just a hint to let you know this isn’t all fire and brimstone. Finally a touch of creaminess coats the tongue.
Long, hot, burning but in a good way. You want to take another sip straight away to keep the fires burning in your mouth.
An unbelievable dram, one that is hot from start to finish, spicy, big, meaty and wonderful. This is a perfect way to finish the Valhalla series and a dram worthy of the All Father’s name.
This is a dram you have to try, you just have to, especially if you like big powerful, meaty whisky. It’s not a session dram or even an every day dram but one, if you are lucky to have a bottle of, you will reach for on every specially occasion.
Regarding the price, only you can decide if you think it’s worth it, but I don’t think you would be disappointed once you’ve tried it.
With a big thanks for the official sample.