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Loki Single Malt Scotch Brings on the Mischief

Jack Bettridge
Posted: April 12, 2013

Loki, Highland Park's latest showing in its Valhalla collection, is a scamp. Named for the shape-shifting trickster of the Norse gods, this single malt lives up to its billing with an almost schizophrenic character that seems belying yet beguiling.

The second of four planned members of the Valhalla clan, the Loki is a 15-year-old single malt Scotch, fashioned by marrying traditional Sherry casks with casks that once held heavily peated whiskies. It follows Thor, a hammer of a dram released last year, and will be followed by Odin and Freya.

Highland Park's stated intention for the Valhalla series—building a malt around a personality—continues to will out with Loki. Never as straightforward as Thor, it shows its trickster self by changing profile at a moments notice, transforming from soft and nuanced to bold and attention grabbing.

The distillery is the farthest north of Scotch plants, located on the island of Orkney, where the climate is cold and the local peat particularly pungent. It also happens to be set in land that was once ruled by Norway, further evoking the Norse god theme.

If the taste doesn't convince you of that, the packaging should. Just as the Thor expression did, the Loki bottle comes in a wooden-frame vessel with serpent-like prows on either side in the motif of a Viking ship.

Global marketing manager Gerry Tosh says that the 16-year-old Thor release was "massively successful," having sold out throughout the world. We hope this one-while expensive-does so, they'll keep trying.

(Cigar pairings on next page)

Loki (15 years old, 97.4 proof, or 48.7 percent alcohol by volume, $249 for a 750 ml bottle)

APPEARANCE: More here than meets the eye. The color straddles the line between light straw and honey. The legs are quick and chunky.

NOSE: Elegant-not heady-aromas. Starts out quite delicate and floral. Moves on to fruits, with orange and lemon, and then settles on more savory notes, bready with some ginger and hints of smoke. Still very understated.

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Comments   1 comment(s)

Spence Harris April 15, 2013 3:16pm ET

An awesome paring with this scotch would be a cigar I came across in Virginia called the kanu by recluse cigars. Awesome stick!!

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