Highland Park Spirit of the Bear (Travel Retail) Review

Two months ago Highland Park Distillery has launched a new series for the Travel Retail market and this time it’s not Viking or Norse mythology themed, or at least not directly. This time the theme is focused on animals with strong connections to the Norse and Viking mythology.

This new series which has three new whiskies and one special edition of an existing and familiar expression, now replaces the Warriors series that dominated the Travel Retail market for the last few years.

The new series has those four releases:

  • Spirit of the Bear – basic entry level whisky without an age statement
  • Loyality of the Wolf 14 Year Old
  • Wings of the Eagle 16 Year Old
  • Highland Park 18 Year Old Travel Edition at 46%

Let’s start with the basic one: Spirit of the Bear. It’s bottled at 40% and therefor I presume it’s chill filtered but it’s all natural color so at least that!

Highland Park Spirit of the Bear (40%, 1L, £44/€49.90)

Nose: A very sweet nose, vanilla, malt, subtle smoke, after a minute in the glass it develops some dried fruits, caramel, nutmeg, sweet sour bright cherries, more vanilla, oak spice. Feels a bit thin.

Palate: Spicy, citrus, Smokier than the nose hints at,  peat, vanilla, almost all-exclusive bourbon influence, drying oak spice bitterness and caramel. Thin without much body and substance.

Finish: Medium length, drying, spices led by oak spice bitterness, subtle vanilla and honey sweetness.

Thoughts: The nose is promising with a profile that is somewhat similar to the classic HP 12 Year Old, but the palate and finish are somewhat disappointing with a thin substance and a profile focused on vanilla/smoke and almost no fruitiness.


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