Highland Park Loyalty of the Wolf Review

“Will the Wolf Survive?”

Whisky Review # 812

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Orkney
Brand: Highland Park Loyalty of the Wolf
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 14 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 42.3%
Maturation: A Mix of Ex-Bourbon Casks and Sherry-Seasoned American Oak
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 70-80 (April 2019)
Buying Advice: 😒Average Single Malt with a negative P/Q ratio.


Golden Straw (Natural Colour)


Quite Light and Edgy for a 14 Years old Single Malt. There's a Refill Cask feel to it. On the Nose the Wolf Is Sweet with Floral, Mineral & Green notes. Smoke & Peat remain in the background. The Sherry cask influence is limited. There's a hint of Sulphur but it's nothing serious. The Alcohol is noticeable.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Cake and Cream, Yeast, Grass & Straw, Apple, Orange, Banana, Coconut, Cinnamon and Ginger.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Smoke, Earthy Peat, Heather-Honey, Green Vegetables, Dried Fruit and Nuts (Dutch Studentenhaver), Wet Rocks, Pineapple, Lemon, Cloves & Pepper.


Slightly Thin to the point of almost Watery. A bit Rough and Dusty as well. I'm not convinced by the choice of casks here. Only hints of Sherry. The Palate is Bitter-Sweet and a little Sour.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Cake and Cream, Salted Nuts, Grass and Straw, Apple, Pear, Orange, Lemon, Refill Oak, Cinnamon, Ginger & Shredded Coconut.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Smoke, Earthy Peat, Mixed Dried Fruit, Nutmeg, Cloves, Herbal Tea and light Licorice and Ashes.


Middle-Long. Bitter Sweet with increasing Bitterness & a light Sourness towards the Medium-Dry end. I find Toasted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Heather-Honey, Grass and Straw, Light Smoke and Earthy Peat, Nuts, Orange, Apple, Lemon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Pepper, Cloves and light Licorice.

Drinking Advice:

The Wolf does not improve with added Water. In fact it should have been bottled at 46%. A 14 Year Old Single Malt deserves that.

Rating: 80.5

Nose: 20 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good


The distillery was founded in 1798 by David Robertson. It is located in the small town of Kirkwall on the isle of Orkney.  Orkney is still quite strongly influenced by its Viking past and the distillery has increasingly used this past as a rather successful marketing tool. Highland Park currently produces around 2.3 million litres of Alcohol and is owned since 1997 by the Edrington Group. The core range consists of the 10 years (Viking Scars), the 12 years (Viking Honour), the 18 years (Viking Pride), the 25, 30 and 40 years. We are planning to visit the distillery in May 2019.

The Story behind this Single Malt is the following: Orkney was under Viking rule for over 600 Years. They felt great affinity with the natural instincts of the wild Wolf i.e. Loyal, Fearless, Determined and a co-operative member of their pack. Like the wolves, the Vikings were Powerful, Loyal and Courageous. In this Single Malt that is both Sweet, Balanced and Complex, the Highland Park distillery celebrates determination, co-operation and courage in the same way as Vikings and Wolves did back in the old days.

The Loyalty of the Wolf was released in 2018, initially for Travel Retail only. The review shows clearly that I'm not impressed by Loyalty of the Wolf. As so often with Travel Retail editions, the Story, Image and Price seem more important than the effective quality of the Whisky. I'm usually rather fond of Single Malts that have aged around 15 Years but not so today. The Wolf is Thin and matured in indifferent Wood. It's Sweet but certainly not Powerful. Better leave this Wolf alone and go instead for the standard 12 and 18 years (Viking Honour and Viking Pride). I don't think this Wolf will survive a long time in the HP portfolio.


Jan van den Ende                                                                   April 26, 2019

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