Review: Highland Park Valnut

HP-2018-Valknut-Hero-Bottle+Carton-750ml-CMYKHighland Park has just released Valknut, the sequel to last year’s Valkyrie.  The distillery has partnered with Danish designer Jim Lyngvild to design the packaging.

As for the whisky itself, it’s said to be a “bolder, more intense style of Highland Park,” according to press materials.  The whisky was mostly matured in American  sherry seasoned casks.  Additionally, this expression features a slightly higher phenolic level than Valknut and was partially made from Orkney-grown tartan barley.  Valknut has been bottled at 46.8% ABV and is available for $80.

Love the nose here.  It’s vibrant and aromatic, with hints of toffee, toasted almonds, vanilla, herbs, and heather.  Taste-wise, Valknut is sweet, herbal, and a touch spicy.  A small wave of vanilla pod develops into cloves and spice, which becomes a bit dry and slightly leathery.  A nice smokiness becomes a bit bolder, especially towards the long finish.  In fact, those spice and heather notes ramp us as well.

I like it, but tend to prefer Highland Park Valkyrie.  I think that expression is a bit more sherry cask-driven and balanced than Valknut.  It simply has more going on.  The nose is fantastic, but it falls a bit short on the palate compared to Valkyrie.  That said, Valknut is a great choice for those looking for an aromatic and spicy whisky. 7.5/10

highlandparkwhisky.com

Thanks to Highland Park for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Review: Laphroaig 28-Year-Old

Ultra-aged expressions of Laphroaig can be some mighty fine whisky.  For 2018, the distillery has released a 28-year-old expression.  The whiskies that make up this expression have matured in different sized casks, from quarter casks to butts.  For the last year, they’ve been married together in sherry casks. Peated whisky in sherry casks? I’m sold.

Bottled at 44.4% ABV, Laphroaig 28-year-old has a fantastically interesting nose with hints of toffee, dried herbs, tropical fruit, anise, and cloves.  On the palate, fresh fruit juice and stewed pears are matched with toasted cedar staves, peppercorns, brine and grilled mushrooms.  The finish is long with sweet peat, grilled tropical fruit, and spice.

The Islay-based distillery has done it again. It’s released a carefully matured whisky showcasing some of its best qualities. This expensive ($799) bottle is a treasure trove of classic Laphroaig aromas and flavors delivered in droves. The tropical fruit and spice notes are prominent, as the famous medicinal-like notes come across in a more laid back fashion. Delicious. Yes. Expensive? Definitely. Worth it? If you can afford it. 9/10

www.laphroaig.com

Thanks to Laphroaig for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Cigar Pairing: Quintero Panetelas

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Autumn weather means one thing – time to bust out a few cigars.  Online cigar boutique Montefortuna Cigars was kind enough to send over a couple of Cubans and asked that I pair each one with a different whiskey.

To kick things off, I decided to reach for Quintero Panetelas, a small but fiesty cigar.  It’s relatively inexpensive and packs quite the flavor.  It’s made with tobacco from the Vuelta Abajo and Semi Vuelta.

After a few initial puffs, I poured a glass of Glenmorangie Signet, and am glad I did.

Annoyingly, the cigar itself had a very tight draw at first, but improved slightly as time passed.  Glenmorangie Signet is a wonderfully balanced.  The whisky’s dark chocolate and sherry profile beautifully complemented the cigar’s bold tobacco and slightly woody taste.  Because of its small size, the stick lasted about a half hour, making it a great choice for a daily smoker.  I typically drink one glass of whisky while smoking a cigar.  However, these two paired so well I poured another glass of whisky to help finish off the cigar.  That’s saying something.

Quintero Panetelas can be purchased at Montefortunacigars.com.

Thanks to Montefortuna Cigars for the cigar.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.