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Highland Park Freya 15 year old review

Highland Park Valhalla Series – Freya

I haven’t tasted the first two, but I got a chance to try the third release of Highland Park’s Valhalla Collection: Freya, a 15 year old single malt whisky. This one was named after the Norse Goddess of Love. Freya the Goddess was sensitive and wise – a valiant protector of human souls. She creates the Northern Lights above Orkney with its magical cloak of feathers.

After tasting this release, I have to admit that Highland Park surely is continuing the tradition of reflecting the character and qualities of the Norse God on the whisky itself. Which apparently, has happened with other Valhalla releases as well.

Highland Park Freya is a 15 year old single malt. 19 000 bottles were produced and unusually for this distillery, all of it was matured in first fill Ex-Bourbon casks. Like with Highland Park Loki, the malt used in Freya was peated with Orkney peat, but the maturation happened mainly at warehouses of the Edrington Group in Glasgow. Apparently the malt was destined to be used for blending vats, but the casks turned out to be too good to let that happen. So Freya was born.

Highland Park Freya 15YO review

It’s hard not to think of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Like the title reveals, this is truly a strong female character. Not only by name, by palate. Strong, but smooth – delicate scents and aftertaste, yet feisty taste. Truly like Imperator Furiosa played by Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road. The movie by the way is stunning, go see it if you haven’t yet. Freya almost manages to rise to the newest Mad Max’s level. We are talking about a great dram here. Even though Highland Park Freya is a nice example of modern day whisky hype. Fortunately, it is without the NAS label so it’s no surprise it tastes good. A 15 year old cask strength whisky by Highland Park has to be good (this coming from a HP fan). Besides, I actually love a good marketing story and especially the packaging of these “Valhallas”.

Matured in:
Ex-Bourbon casks
Colour: Pale golden straw
Nose: Floral and punchy sweet. Orange peel and hints of toffee. Subtle fruitiness is present as well. Smooth and sophisticated aromas.
Taste: Tropical fruits and vanilla dominate. Some bitter and spicy notes but mainly a buttery and fruity sweet palate. Some mangos and sour nectarine as well. Very nice taste.
Finish: Dry with nice coconut and vanilla notes. Some of those tropical fruits are also there and little bit of peat smoke. Could be a wee bit longer.
Balance: Smooth, yet characteristic. Very much like its name – can’t think of anything more suitable, than Freya, when thinking about Norse Gods. Especially for a cask strength whisky this is very smooth.


Distillery: Highland Park Region: Orkney Islands ABV: 51.2% Non-chill filtered, no added colour

Tasting video by Highland Park:

Johannes Lindblom
Johannes Lindblom
Finnish whisky enthusiast and the author of WhiskyRant! A digital marketing professional by day – a whisky reviewer and informer by night.

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