Single malt whisky - tasting notes

10 Apr 2014

Highland Park Freya

Posted by: Ruben Luyten In: Highland Park

Highland Park Freya spent 15 years in first fill bourbon casks. After Highland Park Thor and Highland Park Loki, it’s the third release in The Valhalla Collection which unites whiskies named after Norse Gods.

This whisky was originally made for blending purposes. The barley was malted with mainland peat and then matured nearby Glasgow in bourbon casks. It’s technically not even Orkney whisky this way, but the result turned out too nice to be blended.


Highland Park FreyaHighland Park 15 yo ‘Freya’
(51,2%, OB 2014)

Nose: quite honeyed for a HP, with juicy pear, melon, pink grapefruit and a soft tropical touch of papaya. A lot of vanilla. Soft heathery notes and a little mint. There’s something more pungent (ashy / peaty) in the background. A subtle coastal note too. Mouth: quite fruity again. Apple, lemon pie, going towards biscuity notes. Some fresh oaky notes with accompanying spices (ginger, pepper). Some uncommon flavours as well: cardamom, something plastic-like, pine sap, lemongrass… Strangely bitter-sour in places, but there’s still a tropical edge (coconut) at the same time. Finish: long, still ‘green’ and zesty, even slightly perfumy, with very soft peat smoke.

I rather liked this one, but mostly because it’s different, even though this also makes your eyebrows raise at times. Thor is still my favourite. Between € 170 and € 270 depending on how greedy your retailer is when it comes to overhyped releases. Thanks Jack.

Score: 87/100

Highland Park Freya 3.5 Ruben Luyten 2014-04-10
  • The Malt Desk

    Hi Ruben,

    The Freya is actually made with Orkney peat and matured mainly, not exclusively, in the Glasgow area. Info is from Highland Park themselves.

  • WhiskyNotes

    Okay, thanks. Seems we had different sources of info, but no doubt you’re right if you went to an official launch party.

  • The Malt Desk

    I’m betting your information comes from whiskybase. The information posted on there regarding this, actually comes from me in the first place but was misinterpreted, I’m afraid. In the meantime, I’ve double checked it and its like posted in my original blog post.

    Dram on :-)

  • pb

    Ruben—Just wanted to say ‘thanks’. Your blog has become my go-to spot before I buy any single malt. I just got into recently (<1 year) into it, but have come to appreciate single malts significantly.

  • WhiskyNotes

    Hi pb, thanks for the kind words, much appreciated.



November 2014
« Oct    

  • WhiskyNotes: You're right, it is a refill bourbon cask. Sorry if I suggested otherwise, but I believe a single cask can never be 80% sherry and 20% bourbon like th
  • Tabrulavubeg: I've tried the 18yo Single Cask yesterday. It's really quite good, but from Ruben's conclusion "an exquisite version of this already really good dram"
  • Johan Andersson: Yes this cask is really fantastic. If you did the Cadenhead Warehouse tasting with Grant MacPherson in Campbeltown 2013 and until Open Day in May 2014

Coming up

  • Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7yo
  • Highland Park 1973 (Mackillop's Choice)
  • Kavalan bourbon cask for Belgium
  • Cardhu 18 Year Old
  • Glenrothes 1997 (Kintra)
  • Bladnoch 1992 (The Nectar)
  • Ledaig 2005 (Maltbarn)

1665 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.