For a brand looking to dive deeper into their Viking roots, what better place to launch a branding overhaul and new line of whiskies than Copenhagen, Denmark. I was more than honored to be asked by Highland Park to join them on a journey to Scandinavia to learn more about their Viking Soul and what that means for their brand going forward. For my Short Attention Span fans, this means new bottle designs and a new line of Viking Legend expressions.
The trip itself was short and sweet. And by “sweet”, I mean a fully jam-packed Viking-themed day ending with a trip and dinner in a Viking Castle. All during the day my Instagram followers got a live look at what we were experiencing through Instagram Stories (Watch Here). I also did an account takeover of the Highland Park US Instagram account (Watch Here). We started off after a quick breakfast by buses to the Viking Museum in Roskilde, where we were greeted by Brand Director Jason Craig, who walked us through a presentation on the new bottles design, as well as a short video. The new design, converting the core range 10yr, 12yr and 18yr (say goodbye to the 15yr sadly) to a Viking-themed lineup.
Side Note: I have always been a huge fan of the Highland Park bottle design. So I was a little sad to hear it was changing. But when I finally saw the bottle in the video. I got excited. They took everything I loved about the previous bottle, and expanded on it. The beautiful embossing, the small label allowing more light to come through, and the new box with silver design, just awesome.
After the presentation we broke out in groups to different stations through the museum. We got to make our own Viking coins, we learned about ship making and its similarities to building casks with Martin Markvardsen, Senior Brand Ambassador. We got to learn about casks and the warehouse from Keith Moar, Warehouse Team Leader. Then we even got to sit through a tasting with Gordon Motion, Master Whisky Maker. And all this before lunch.
The second half of our day was all about the unveiling of the new whisky that we have heard so much about. So we were brought to the home of Jim Lyngvild, who was the Packaging Designer of the Highland Park Valkyrie. He is a modern day Viking and lives in a Viking-style castle that he designed himself. He can trace his family back to the Viking age and lives as a Viking two months out of the year. I had a chance to interview him for my Instagram Stories, and quickly found out how much of a Star Wars fan he is. So we kinda became best friends. The rest of the day was something out of a dream. Amazing farm raised food, people in Viking garb walking around and serving us, opera singers, a Viking drama, whisky tastings, a soothsayer (who still kinda scares me), all followed by a large wooden dragon that was set to flames as the night ended.
All this to announce the release of Valkyrie, the first of three new Viking Legend NAS statement to replace the Dark Origins. The others being Valknut and Valhalla to be released in 2018 and 2019. As sad as I am to see the Dark Origins discontinued, I can say the Valkyrie is everything I wanted the Dark Origins to be, and more. It’s a perfect mix of peat, sweetness and has a depth to it I couldn’t find in the Dark Origins.
All that said, I couldn’t have been more honored to be included in this trip and take part in the first step of the new journey Highland Park is taking us on. This day/trip was nothing short of magical and way beyond what anyone involved could have expected. Stay tuned, more great things to come from Highland Park… and hopefully here are well.
… as a special treat, I was asked by my buddies the Scotch Test Dummies to join them on a Live YouTube stream to talk about my trip, the new Package design and the Valkyrie. Here is the video. Pour a dram and give it a view below, or go watch it here.