As many of our reviews attest, we enjoy going beyond the color, legs, nose, mouth, and finish to pondering all that goes into a whisky’s name and how that bears–or doesn’t–on the experience of the liquid. In this case, “Einar” refers most directly to the group of undead Norse warriors who hang out in Valhalla, gorge themselves on a beast that resurrects itself each day (Sæhrímnir) and drink all the mead the valkyries can bring them whilst they prepare for the huge battle that will happen during Ragnarök. Undead? Definitely not evoked here. A huge, mythic battle? Not really. The rest, though, is a pretty cool image. Whether or not it comes through clearly in the whisky, a dram could do a helluva lot worse, that’s for sure.
The nose here is classic HP, with honeycomb, ginger muffins with rum raisins baking down the hall, taking a hit from an opened Peugeot pepper grinder, fermenting crabapples in a steel bucket, and applesauce used to clean an espresso machine. [John: That’s supposed to be a description of “classic HP”?] [Bill: It isn’t?] The mouth is delicious, awash with waterized honey, mustiness like that of a cedar trunk containing lace doilies from the Viking era, and an odd mix of refinement and wet fur not unlike those pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch and otters. The sherry influence is clear on the mouth and finish, with dried cranberries, dried Herbes de STFU (lesser known type of French herb mix, employed most often by Parisians), and a dehydrator set on “stun.” The finish is tangy, with fermenting pears, a hint of latex bondage, and denectared mangos in a boys’ choir. [Bill: That is where you tend to run into them.] There’s also some real heft on the finish, like a long hickory syrup, despite the mouthfeel being a bit thin–svelte, even–on the tongue, without being watery. [John: Svelte pretty good to me, too.] Despite that last caveat, I’d put this on pancakes in a heartbeat.
The Highland Park Einar is Erik the Red–A sight better than the bottom level Svein, this second-to-the-least-expensive expression from the Highland Park travel-retail only Warriors series will take you further for the money than any of the others. Plus, like this expression, he’s a ginger. Greenland, ho!
–Our thanks to Sarah and her discerning travel retail tastes for the sample!