Skip to main content

Highland Park Launches Valkyrie Whisky with a Medieval Feast and the Burning of a Viking Ship

Highland Park
“Just ten more minutes,” our bus leader said.

At this rate, the minutes started blending together as much as the rural Denmark pasture, gliding past the luxury hauler’s windows.

Our bus was number one out of three headed towards Danish designer Jim Lyngvild’s Raunborg compound for a night of feasting and theater to celebrate the launch of Highland Park’s new Valkyrie whisky and overall re-brand.

The bus pulled to a quiet halt at a dirt road under overcast skies. Awaiting us was a horse-drawn carriage captained by a farming couple whose very presence exuded decades of experience and grit.

Typically, I don’t write about press events. They’re usually cliché and just about as interesting as you’d expect a group of writers herded together to be. As soon as the carriage dropped us off at the front steps of Lyngvild’s fortress, though, I knew this would be one for the books.

A troupe of Medieval re-enacters greeted us with a proclamation about the celebratory nature of the evening. “Welcome to the castle,” I recall one of them shouting.

We were led by a small army of Viking traditionalists into a cavernous room complete with an initial photo op (because every press event needs one) and a welcome fire pit to combat the unseasonably cold April night. There was even a throne emblazoned with Highland Park’s new logo, because really on this night, we were all kings.

After an initial dram and toast (skål was said no less than three dozen times throughout the night), the re-enactors led us to a second room, which was technically the official launch room of the new spirit.

Elaborately dressed mannequins were the welcome wagon here. Their sheer scale of colorful feathering flowed not unlike Native American dresses seen stateside. Martin Markvardsen, Highland Park’s Senior Brand Ambassador offered some additional notes on the new whisky and the meaning of the evening ahead.

For dinner, a massive plate of pork rib skewers awaited us and the dames in charge of the eats invited us to grab a precooked rib and reheat it over small bonfires scattered in Lyngvild’s courtyard. Cocktails were provided by the team from Copenhagen’s trendy Helium bar. They offered a couple of balanced variations on classic favorites.

If the food represented was traditional Viking fare, then I would have been morbidly obese in that time period. The meal was a barrage of smoked sausage, cured charcuterie, pickled vegetables and bread. Appropriately enough, we ate off of wooden slabs.

All of this took place in Lyngvild’s banquet-style, open-air hall, inviting in the wind and occasional drizzle from the Danish skies (the hall was built specifically for the launch). A medium-scale wooden Viking ship replica sat off in the distance presiding over the festivities.

Throughout dinner, the actors served as entertainment, shifting between beautiful opera and an evolving dialogue about the King and Prince going to war over the kingdom. (There was never really a resolution about who was the true ruler).

As the evening wound down, and the troupe receded from the stage, orchestral music started humming from the small speaker setup. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed an orange flicker.

Highland Park Vikingsoul

That flicker quickly became an inferno.

The wooden ship that had calmly sat in the field all evening was suddenly a blazing fireball. It made no sense and somehow made perfect sense at the same time.

What a better way to cap off the excess and the gluttony of the day than by using man’s most primal discovery to send it all off, ablaze.

It was definitely a more appropriate sendoff than the 24-pack of Carlsberg we polished off on the way back. Sorry, vikings.

Editors' Recommendations

Geoff Nudelman
Geoff is a former contributor to The Manual. He's a native Oregonian who’s always up for a good challenge and a great hike…
We found a really clever use for sous vide nobody talks about
One clever Reddit user figured out a surprising use for the versatile sous vide machine
Honey dipper and honeycomb on a table

You've probably heard of the hottest "new" cooking method, sous vide — though it isn't actually new at all. It turns out that many restaurant chefs have been using this technique for ages to achieve the most consistently delicious, perfect-every-time cooking for their dishes.
Only recently have home cooks been able to take advantage of this rather modern cooking method, and it seems the recipe world has caught fire with new sous vide tips and tricks on every cooking website and blog in town. But if you're still unfamiliar with the trendy cooking method, you're not alone.

What is sous vide cooking?
Though the process may seem rather complicated and scientific, it's really quite simple to understand. The term sous vide is French, which translates to "under vacuum." In other words, food is vacuum sealed in a pouch, and then cooked in a temperature-controlled water bath.
Why is sous vide cooking useful?
Chefs and home cooks alike love to sous vide for a few reasons. One reason is for the consistency it offers. With traditional cooking methods, exact temperatures are nearly impossible to set; let alone duplicate each time you cook a particular dish. With sous vide cooking, you can set a precise temperature and that's how your dish will cook every time -- giving you the consistency you're after. The water bath and vacuum seal also allow your food to cook in its own juices, and this creates a much more tender and flavorful dish each time.
Using a sous video device to decrystallize honey
by u/cruftbox in Beekeeping
What can I cook in a sous vide machine?
The versatility of foods you can prepare in a sous vide machine is arguably unparalleled by any other kitchen appliance. You can use this machine to make vegetables, meat, chicken, pork, fish, eggs, and even desserts.

Read more
Star Wars drinking game rules you can use for all the movies
These drinking game rules will ensure that the Force of intoxication is with you, whether it's May the Fourth or not.
star wars drinking game rules cocktails death feature image

May the Fourth may come just once a year, but celebrating everything that Star Wars has given us shouldn't be confined to a single day. You should feel free to rewatch your favorite Star Wars films whenever you want, especially since they're so conveniently located on Disney Plus.

As fun as lounging and binge-watching is in and of itself, you might find that adding alcohol to the equation really spices things up. This is why movie drinking games are a great way to take any film you've already seen and add a whole new level of entertainment on top of it. With 11 different movies to choose from, we thought it best to create one list of Star Wars drinking game rules to rule them all. So whether you're starting with the original trilogy or jumping ahead to The Force Awakens, here are some drinking guidelines to try to stick to throughout.

Read more
The very best airport watering holes, from LAX to JFK
Flying this travel season? We suggest a good drink at one of these outstanding airport bars
A beer pint at the airport.

Travel season is upon us, which means moseying through an airport en route to a special trip or vacation. That process is made all the better with a quality drink.

Fortunately, today's airports are pretty generous when it comes to quality food and drink options. Yet, with so many terminals and slim windows in between flights, it pays to know exactly where you are going. So we rounded up the best watering holes in some of the busiest airports in the country.

Read more