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Highland Park ‘Drakkar’ (2011, OB, 40%)

It’s no secret that former militant metalheads reside here: so it’s no surprising we have a particular sense for Vikings. Highland Park, that’s no secret either, has decided to bet on a supposed Viking heritage to attack the market… Philologically, they climbed into a drakkar and sailed to lands to conquer. Today we are precisely tasting ‘Drakkar’, a NAS version only for duty free, whose sample we owe thanks to Davide, Grand Master of the Order of Italian whisky bloggers.

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N: very marine and slightly peaty; the brackish side is really pleasant. With a great note of orange (peels, but also caramelized); you can recognize the mix of barrels, with clear notes of vanilla. Over time it becomes ‘warmer’ and the salty frost fades in favour of a greater roundness (toffee, raisins) and an intense spicy component (cinnamon). Cooked apples and plums. A pit of licorice, a shade of smoke.

P: what an epochal weakness. It squeaks with the pleasant nose. But is there actually a palate? Some notes of the nose return (orange, toffee, something abstractly creamy), but heavily weakened by a gradation without dignity.

F: the nose returns. Dried fruit, a bit bitter. Orange, toffee, then some peat again.

A pleasant nose, in a young Highland Park style, violently penalized by a palate that is practically unpleasant. For heaven’s sake: we are dealing with a decent whisky, don’t get us wrong, but the low alcohol content removes grip from a malt that would have personality to burn. Forgive us, Odin and Freya: 80/100 is the best we can give.

Recommended soundtrack: Phoenix – Drakkar Noir, because metal now would be too easy, and – let’s face it – wasted.

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