The sun is starting to peek through the clouds once more and there’s that glorious feeling of love in the air. Is that because Valentine’s Day is creeping closer and closer? It actually has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day at all (but you can still address all heart-shaped boxes of chocolate to Sam Smith, MoM Towers, Tunbridge Wells). No, that lovely feeling is coming from the parcel that has found its way to my desk.
Hidden beneath a shock of shredded black paper sits a fancy looking black box tied up with quite a fancy leather string bow. It's the kind of box that people can only hold really awesome or really scary stuff. You're not going to get a box that looks like this with a stapler or a bike lock or a bank statement in it. It's either amazing or devastating. A gold ring or a ring finger. A puppy or too many scorpions. Cake or death. I'm quite partial to cake, to be perfectly honest.
This isn’t heart-shaped at all. Is this even chocolate?
Now, the last time this sort of thing happened, Jake thought he was being hunted by The Riddler but it turned out to be the mischievous spirit of Loki on his tail. No wonder he felt dread gripping his soul as he opened the classy box. This time, however, I had no terror, no trepidation. Could it be that I'm super brave and Jake is a total scaredy-cat, or could it be that this box isn't haunted by the self-proclaimed God of Mischief this time around?
Well, only one way to find out!
It’s full of feathers and whisky! Just what I always wanted!
No wonder I’m not scared! It’s the next installment of Highland Park’s Valhalla Collection, inspired by the Norse Goddess of Love, Freya! Following the hammer & lightning fuelled spark of Thor and the smoky, shapeshifting Loki, the Orkney distillery have become infatuated with The Fair One.
Freya. Goddess of Love. Fan of daggers, polearms and cats.
Freya was a beautiful, wise goddess that protected the human race when they died in battle by renewing their souls in the field of Fólkvangr. The magical cloak of feathers that she carries like wings reflected light, causing the aurora borealis (which you are able to see quite well on a winter’s night on Orkney).
Ah, so that’ll be what all those jewels hidden in the feathers are all about.
Highland Park’s Valhalla Collection has always made quite an impression, from all the thought that goes on behind it with the connections between Orkney and Scandinavian mythology, the branding, the Viking long-ship inspired presentation cases (that are in no way annoying to carefully package for sending to far flung places, not at all), and of course, the whisky!
Highland Park Freya – 15 Year Old (The Valhalla Collection) – 51.2% – £140
Jake's Tasting Note for Highland Park Freya
Nose: Chamomile, orange, papaya, leather strips (like the one our sample box came wrapped in), grapefruit, peach, pine, pear skin, cardamom, fruity smoke and a touch of heather. White chocolate and freeze-dried strawberries.
Palate Woody and fragrant pear. Starfuit too. Smoke, orange peel and proper Turkish delight.
Finish: Smoky with a hint of tin, drying at full strength. Apricot and spices.
Overall: Freya, 'The Fair One', Goddess of Love - seductive, subtle, each sip leaves you wanting just a little more.
The Valhalla Collection’s third god/goddess has been unleashed upon us mere humans, and you can grab yourself a bottle of the Freya right here, right now! There’s only one final whisky left in the series to be released. While many are wondering just who the final god will be, my research has led me to believe there is a much more important question that needs an answer: What animal will be pulling this deity’s chariot?
You see, Thor’s chariot was pulled along by a team of goats...
Goats. The most fearsome animal (if you are made out of tin cans).
...And Freya’s chariot was pulled along by cats!
Up, Mittens! Up, Mr. Whiskers! Pull for the stars!
So this begs the question, which animal not suited to pulling a chariot will be pulling the final god or goddess’ chariot? Hamsters? Armadillos? Platypi?! This is a riddle we will only unravel when yet another box from Highland Park lands on our doorstep. We can’t wait!
P.S. – You’ll notice Loki does not have a chariot. This is because he is propelled by sheer force of his jerkishness.
Loki. Total jerk.