torsdag 19 oktober 2017

Whisky-honeymoon PART 3 – tasting Highland Park Valkyrie and Rebus30 10 year old

Dear friends and followers alike! Today I bring you PART 3 of my "Whisky-honeymoon" (sharing the whisky-related adventures that took place during the honeymoon me and my wife had in the beginning of this summer). For part one please click here. And yes, you are correct in noticing that part two, our visit to Bowmore Distillery has so far not yet been published, simmer down, it will come later (strangely enough, not very chronological ;) ).

Anyways, as you might remember from part one, before going to Islay my wife and I spent one night in Glasgow, and it was there that we more or less randomly bumped in to Martin Markvardsen (Senior Brand Ambassador at Highland Park) who turned out to accidentally be in Glasgow due to some travel-trouble. We joined Martin (and Vicky) at the Pot Still bar for some beers and whisky during which we told them that after Islay we were heading to Edinburgh, and guess what, so was Martin! While we were going there to do some touristing, he was going there to do four tastings (at the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian) for RebusFest30; a weekend of literature, art, film and music that celebrated 30 years of Ian Rankins iconic fictional detective John Rebus (read more about it here). Being very friendly and generous Martin told us that we were more than welcome to stop by and join him during one of the tastings! Jippie! 

When in Edinburgh it turned out that my wonderful and beautiful wife was more keen on doing some shopping, while myself of course was more keen on tasting some Highland Park! :) When entering the Waldorf this was the set-up that met my eyes

The Line-up for the tasting was Rebus30 HP 10yo, HP12, Valkyrie, HP18

Since I had already tasted HP 12yo and HP 18yo a number of times and on a number of occasions, I decided to focus solely on Rebus30 and Valkyrie during the tasting and therefor did tasting notes only of them. 

Highland Park Rebus30 10 year old 40% ABV
The liquid in Rebus30 is the same as in the regular HP 10yo meaning, what separates the two is the presentation/the bottle itself.

Increadibly creamy, lots of vanilla, in fact a very peaty-sugary/sweet/fruity/fudge-y kind of vanilla. Just a wee touch of yeast (wash) in here. The fruits are candy-peach, banana-something, medium ripe pear, and sugar syrup with lime juice. The peatyness is so smooth and absolutely soaked with soft but kind of fat vanilla. Concluding from the nose, a majority of the liquid in this one must have been matured in american oak sherry casks rather than european oak sherry casks. 

Definitely starts off creamy! In fact, increadibly creamy, together with peach candy and overripe banana and/or banana jelly candy. Then some saltyness takes over, quickly moving on into a peaty spicyness. Medium dry or even very dry in the aftertaste. The creamyness in the beginning is very rich on vanilla and some banana jelly candy, but the main focus in the taste is definitely the peaty spice-yness. Great dram, and not as "simple" in style as I had thought it would be.

Highland Park Valkyrie 45,9% ABV 
Valkyrie is the first release in a series of three whiskies, each one of them telling a Viking Legend. The story of Valkyrie goes: "Plunging down from the dark heavens, the Valkyries would descend like avenging angels on horseback to comb the battlefields for the bravest of the fallen warriors, heroes fit to enter the great Norse god Odin’s hall, Valhalla" (please feel free to read more about it here). Here in Sweden Valkyrie will be released at the state-monopoly tomorrow (view the product by clicking here).

Now, from a whisky point of view, what sets Valkyrie apart from the "regular" HP-range? Well, it's the fact that it's peatier! In what way? Half of the whisky in the mix consists of whisky made from their heavily peated recipe, meaning made only from their own produced 45 ppm malt. The rest of the content consists of their "usual" recipe; made through mixing their 45 ppm malt (1 part) with the 0ppm malt (4 parts) they order from Simpsons Malting. For recipe in terms of the composition of casks for Valkyrie please do take a look at this video (from 5:50 minutes and onward) with Gordon Motion (Master Whisky Maker at Highland Park). Now what Gordon does not tell us in the video is the ages that went into Valkyrie. However, do not despair, during the tasting Martin told us the following: the 45ppm part is between 8-10yo, and the rest of the whisky is 17yo at it's oldest.  

Definitely more peaty than the "normal" Highland Parks I've had so far, and definitely more peaty than the other three whiskies in the line-up. The peatyness seems almost toasted or medium charred. We have beautiful scents of dark oloroso sherry sweetness in here, but the interesting thing is that the sherry sweetness has an overtone of something citric (maybe something like lemon juice) and also very interesting some touches of watermelon (!) and salt liquorice. Covering/surrounding everything but the heavy peatyness is a beautiful heather-honey sweetness.

Starts off very salty and quite vanilla-ish, but then "BAM!", the peatyness hits, and oh boy the peatyness is spicy indeed. After the spice and peat mellows down we have a beautiful creamyness mixed with sun dried grass in a field, and also mixed with bitter salad/greens (maybe something like ruccola). The fruityness in this one is smoked and/or ovendried slices of pear, together with dark and sort of "smoked raisins". Very interesting tastes and flavours in this one due to the high peatyness, a very "different" HP because of this. Ends with a soft and rich touch of vanilla and citrus (mellow and not to citric lemon curd).

Always great to meet Martin! And always time for a photo shoot :)
Martin holding Rebus30 10yo and myself holding Rebus30 30yo, one of very few bottles
produced for the Rebusfest and put away for charity auction.
Big thanks to Martin for inviting me to the tasting and for making my Whisky-honeymoon even more special, Sláinte! 

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