Marketing is serious big deal for every product and hard to master skill, right? When we look at the single malt whisky market and marketing we can notice that most distilleries core range malts stick to age, barrel types and usages and other whisky attributes to brand, label, tag and market their whiskies.
However, sometimes when you need to market unique and special products to specific crowded and competitive market (and audience), the question that probably rises in those marketing teams – how do we make it stand out so people will buy our products and not the others (or both, but make sure ours are in your basket…).
You’ve probably guessed (correctly) that I’m talking on the Travel Retail whisky market. Here, the rules are different and different distilleries takes different route – some (the minority) will relay on the strong existing distillery brand and reputation and will sticks to the usual conventions (Hello Balvenie Triple Cask 12, 16, 25!) but most will launch new products which are named after external objects – important places for the distilleries, historical places, ships and persons – instead of whisky age/cask/attributes and usually without age statement.
This year, Highland Park distillery launched exclusively for the Retail Travel market -the warriors series – there are six bottlings in this series and the first three that were released already are Svein, Harald and Einar and very soon we’re supposed to see Sigurd, Ragnvald and Thorfinn which were slated for summer release.
In the last local tasting event which focused on highlands whiskies, we also tasted Highland Park Einar for the first time.
The Warriors bottles, as most bottles of that kind, do not have age declaration – quite a common and worrisome trend lately with the rising demand for single malt whisky and dwindling stock of old casks.
So a competitive market, distillery with good reputation, whisky with no age statement – how good is Einar?
Nose: We get a combination of fruity notes with minor sherry influence, sweet vanilla, some malty notes and lots of spices like cinnamon and pepper, overall nice but not very complex.
Palate: What the nose promise, the palate delivers. A rich mix of all those notes we sniffed coats the tongue with some weak smoke note that hides in there.
Finish: Medium, spices and oak dominates here with some lingering vanilla added to the recipe.
Conclusion: It’s a decent one and Highland Park continue to produce good stuff, although I’d still go for HP 18 if I have to choose between them (despite HP 18 being £13 more expensive). I wish that the ABV would be higher for those warriors bottles with little more Oomph – other tasters in the event said it feels a bit watered down and at 46% it would probably be even better. I think those forthcoming 3 warriors with the higher ABV (and older spirit) seems like a good bet to excel even further.