A new look has been unveiled for the range of leading whisky brand Highland Park alongside a new limited edition.
It features a new bottle and carton with a design inspired by the Viking heritage of the Orkney Islands where the whisky is made. Once ruled by the Viking kingdoms of Denmark and Norway, it has been part of Scotland since 1468 but Orcadians still feel a strong connection with their Scandinavian heritage.
Brand director Jason R Craig explained: “The inspiration for the design came from an ancient ‘stavkirke’ (wooden church), a World Heritage Site in the tiny Norwegian village of Ornes. The wooden church is heavily decorated with extensive and ornate wood carvings which we thought would look amazing on a glass bottle.
“The result is a beautiful, heavily embossed bottle featuring an illustration which depicts an ancient Viking legend of a lion locked in an enduring battle with the forces of evil in the form of serpent-like dragons.
“The new packaging includes a new, wider bottle, a metallic label design that complements the glass, embossed with a contemporary-looking logo as well as a premium torque closure to keep the whisky safe – all of which, we believe, will add consumer interest and excitement around the brand.
“For whisky fans, their first point of contact with any brand is the bottle and carton on a shop shelf or on a back bar. So, we had to create a new bottle and carton design which would explain our Viking bloodline and why we are ‘The Orkney Single Malt with Viking Soul’.”
The whisky profile for Highland Park’s 12 and 18 Year Old single malts remains unchanged but each variant has been given a sub-brand name to give a stronger individual identity to each whisky.
These sub brand names are inspired by the “Nine Noble Virtues”which the Vikings’ community lived by so the new-look 12 Year Old, available now, is dubbed Viking Honour and the 18 Year Old, out later this year, is Viking Pride. The brand is distributed in the UK through Maxxium UK.
In partnership with renowned Danish designer Jim Lyngvild, Highland Park has also launched Valkyrie, the first in a series of three Viking Legend limited releases inspired by the islands’ Viking heritage and mythology.
Valkyrie’s unique design is inspired by two Nordic sources – a typical Viking pendant from around 300-700AD discovered in Uppland, Sweden and the ancient Hammar Stone of Gotland which details the epic journey of the Valkyries – avenging horse-backed angels who combed the battlefields for the bravest of their fallen warriors.
The whisky itself, created by master whisky maker Gordon Motion, dials up more of Highland Park’s typical smoky notes by incorporating more of the heathery peated malt. “This creates a richer, fuller phenolic note that has balance due to the sweeter, heathery character of our moorland peat but it is a slight departure from our core 12 Year Old whisky,” Jason added.
Noticeably different from the traditional black and silver Highland Park packaging, Valkyrie’s re-imagined design maintains the distillery’s ongoing references to Viking design while updating the graphics with a bolder, hand-drawn aesthetic.
Using embossed metallic detailing, Lyngvild represents the Valkyries as shield-maidens of Odin, offering their god a drink of mead from a curved horn. The larger illustration features a winged Valkyrie with coiled hair and a necklace that pays homage to the goddess Freya’s magical Brísingamen torque, or necklace.
Lyngvild, a Viking and expert in Norse mythology, is designing striking new packaging for all three of the special-edition whiskies. The following two will be Valknut and Valhalla, released in 2018/19.
He said: “I am fiercely proud of my Viking ancestry and connection to the islands of Orkney. Working with Highland Park on the new Viking Legend series has been an honour and a unique opportunity to depict the ancient Norse myths and legends, so revered in Viking culture to a new, contemporary audience.”
Jason said: “We’ve enjoyed delving deeper into Orkney’s history and heritage for the Viking Legend series, culminating in this exciting new collaboration with bona fide 21st-century Viking Jim Lyngvild. Jim’s knowledge about Viking history and the Viking way of life is rich in detail.”
Highland Park Valkyrie tasting notes from Highland Park
Appearance: Natural colour – bright, amber hue.
Nose: Sharp tang of sweet green apples and ripening lemons.
Palate: A bewitching mix of oriental spices. Driven by European oak sherry seasoned casks, American oak sherry-seasoned casks and bourbon casks, the flavour profile is creamy vanilla with spicy, sweet, preserved ginger and lingering smokiness with hints of liquorice.
Finish: Exquisitely balanced, the long and lingering finish delivers waves of warm aromatic smoke and richly ripened fruit.