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Norse mythology – The Highland Park

高原騎士 - 北歐神話

The highly sought-after Highland Park Valhalla FIRE Edition, which is the last expression of the series, was finally launched in Taiwan. The FIRE Edition is named after Sutr who was once the ruler of Muspelheim in the Norse mythology. The whisky is encased in specially commissioned crimson glass bottle which symbolizes the Kingdom of fire as well as the doom and the reborn of the World in the Viking myth.

The Highland Park Valhalla Collection released its first expression – Thor in 2012, followed by Loki, Freya and Odin respectively in consecutive the years. It was thought that the series ended at this point but then the two new editions evolved - ICE Edition which depicted the the story of Ice Giant Jötunn and the FIRE Edition.

It is not just time and money you have to spend to get the full collection, but also the privilege of accessing to internal subscription in some cases. Some fans are just one bottle away from the full set while a few die-hard fans would try to make it at any expense.

 

If we ignore anything about marketing and focus in just the quality of the whisky, the FIRE Edition is admittedly the most special one in the series. It is the first expression that was matured in 100% refill Port seasoned casks. The palate is rather soft and sweet when compared to the Bourbon aged ICE Edition. I prefer the latter one personally although it gives no indication to the quality comparison between them.

 

The enjoyment that a whisky may brought to us is not confined to how delicious or how rare it is, but often the discussion and sharing it provoked as well. The history of each distillery is often worthy to explore.

 

Certainly, whisky that associated with ancient myths like the Valhalla Collection provides even more aspects for us to appreciate. In that case, the glass of whisky in front of you serves as a linkage which brings you into the story. The flavor doesn’t really matter as long as you could feel the spirit and the enthusiasm in the story.

許多高原騎士鐵粉引頸期盼的Valhalla英靈神殿系列最後一款FIRE Edition終於在臺灣上市,而FIRE Edition是以北歐神話中,統治慕斯貝爾海姆 (Muspelheim) 的火焰巨人蘇爾特爾 (Surtr) 所命名,並且特製深紅色玻璃瓶,象徵維京神話中如滾燙熔岩般炙熱的火焰王國外,也同時演繹北歐神話中世界的毀滅與重生。

 

北歐神話Valhalla英靈神殿系列先是2012年發行雷神索爾Thor、2013年發行火神洛基Loki、2014年發行愛神芙雷雅Freya、2015年發行眾神之父奧丁Odin,原本以為北歐神話Valhalla英靈神殿系列畫下句點,但任誰也沒想到除了這四位天神之外,還會有寒冰巨人對抗天神,企圖掌控這世界的故事ICE Edition以及北歐神話中世界的毀滅與重生FIRE Edition。

 

這一套完整的收集下來除了金錢花費與時間的等待之外,更重要的是每一版發行時都還要有辦法可以搶到或是買到,當然,有些人其中一個版本沒有收集到便直接放棄,也有鐵粉就只差那麼一瓶,不管如何都要收集到,縱使花較高昂的金額取得也在所不惜。

而在這一系列當中,如果我們拋棄行銷與故事,回到品飲的層面來看這六款威士忌時,還是不得不說FIRE Edition是較為特別的,同時也是高原騎士酒廠首度以100%波特桶來做酒款的風味與呈現,在入口風味的表現來說是讓人感受較為輕柔甜美,但如果以整個系列的風味而言,我個人的喜好則是會比較喜愛 ICE Edition 的風味表現,當然不是說哪一瓶比較好或是哪一瓶比較差,而是ICE Edition那波本的香氣表現不得不說真的很棒。

 

在威士忌的世界裡,享受威士忌帶來的樂趣並不是只有單純的好不好喝又或是多麼的限量稀少,很多時候的樂趣除了是共同分享與討論之外,有時候酒廠的歷史與故事和酒款的風格是息息相關的,這都是非常值得去探索玩味,也是威士忌另一種的樂趣與享受。

 

當然,另外像這樣有主題並且結合神話故事的酒款來說,一邊品飲一邊閱讀故事又是另一種的享受,而此時的酒款風味好與壞已不再是那麼的絕對,因為當下的主角是你與該篇故事,而你手上的威士忌只是一座橋樑與連結,所以只要好好享受那當下即可,這才是威士忌帶給人們的真諦與快樂。