Waiting for a flight to board can be seriously tedious business so browsing the duty free shop for fine spirits is often a welcomed distraction. Its made all the more interesting (for us whisky geeks) when you come across something that's exclusive to travel retail. At the very least, if these off piste whiskies don't tickle your fancy, you'll be impressed by the manliness of the 1 litre bottles.
Highland Park have announced a new range of whiskies entitled 'The Warrior Series' which draw on the Orkney distillery's strong Norse heritage. They’ve named each of the bottlings after infamous Viking Earls who once presided over the remote islands. The first three in the series being Svein, Einar and the notorious Harald retailing at €40, €53 and €75 respectively.
Although the islands are part of Scotland this has only been the case since 1468. Centuries of Viking rule have left a deep and lasting impression on the people and culture of the Orkney Islands. Share a whisky with an Orcadian and you won't hear a "Slangevar" (the Scottish for "cheers"), instead the distinctly Scandinavian "Skol!" in preferred.
Gerry Tosh, Highland Park's own 21st Century viking-esque figure*, is pleased with the creations:
The Warrior Series is a natural progression for Highland Park, both in brand terms and in global travel retail. By continuing the celebration of our rich and distinctive Norse heritage we are able to tell stories which bring the brand and its products to life. To further this evolution, the whisky maker has crafted six individual whiskies which collectively offer drinkers a new style of taste journey, still classically Highland Park from start to finish, but giving them a different and holistic experience.
Travel retail is a fast growing area for whisky producers who are increasingly using the market to test out new expressions prior to general release - Johnnie Walker Double Black and Highland Park 21 Year Old to name just two recent examples - so you'll often catch a glimpse of things to come.
We'll look forward to the next three in the series where the Viking Earls "go premium" on a sliding scale. Available at all good local airports.
*actually Gerry is quite mild mannered and a jolly nice chap but we thought the piece worked better if he had a bit more of the Norse warrior about him. Gerry take note.