When I was six years old, I checked a book on Norse mythology out of my local library and made my mom read the entire book to me. This episode is burned into my mind because of the trauma it caused: once my mom completed the chapter on Ragnarok, the end times battle when (spoiler alert) everyone dies. I spent the rest of the afternoon weeping inconsolably.
Twenty years later, I’ve had the opportunity to taste a whisky inspired by Ragnarok. It hasn’t brought me to tears yet, but it’s damn good.
Highland Park Fire Edition is the second release in a two-part limited series inspired by the Ice and Fire giants of Norse Legend. The Fire Edition is, quite obviously, an homage to those fire giants that burned their way through Valhalla in the penultimate battle of Norse legend. The high-concept theme is evident in the packaging: the whisky comes in a magma-red bottle framed by a volcano-shaped wooden holder, and looks like something Sauron would stock in his home bar.
Mythology aside, Fire Edition is a 15 year old single malt matured in seasoned port wine casks. Its production was limited to 28,000 bottles, and less than 5,000 of those made their way to the U.S.
The spirit is a light, bright gold color. The nose contains notes of green apple and caramel, and offers a peaty preview of the smoke to come. It feels absolutely beautiful on the tongue: light, rounded and creamy, strikingly mellow considering the proof. The taste begins with creamy caramel and vanilla, which turns satisfyingly smoky before a long, charred aftertaste with a hint of salt.
Highland Park Fire Edition begins and finishes like two entirely different whiskies. The sweet, creamy beginning and charred, almost savory finish are a wonderful contrast to one another. As far as tributes to dead Norse gods go, you can’t ask for much better.
– 45% ABV
CE Rating: ★★★★