March 18, 2020

"Order of the Phoenix" House Editions Coming

The House Editions of Order of the Phoenix, 5 out of 7 in the Harry Potter series, will be published on June 11. As was tradition before, the houses are Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin. The hardbacks will have a block dustjacket, while the paperbacks will be coloured according to house. I got officially sorted into Slytherin, so my post is in regards to the hardback Slytherin edition. Here is the official synopsis:

"Let the magic of J.K. Rowling's classic Harry Potter series transport you to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This Slytherin House Edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix celebrates the noble character of the Hogwarts house famed for its pride, ambition and cunning. Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts is packed with more great Slytherin moments and characters, including Harry's eventful Occlumency lessons with Severus Snape and the inauspicious arrival of Professor Dolores Umbridge .

Each Slytherin House Edition features vibrant sprayed edges and intricate silver foiling. The Order's iconic phoenix symbol rises from the flames at the very centre of the front cover, framed by stunning iconography of number twelve, Grimmauld Place, the historic Black family residence. In addition to a bespoke introduction, the book also includes new illustrations by Kate Greenaway Medal winner Levi Pinfold, including an imposing portrait of Slytherin alumna Dolores Umbridge. All seven books in the series will be issued in these highly collectable, beautifully crafted House Editions, designed to be treasured and read for years to come.

A must-have for anyone who has ever imagined sitting under the Sorting Hat in the Great Hall at Hogwarts waiting to hear the words, 'Better be SLYTHERIN!'"

Expect the House editions of Half-Blood Prince (house coloured hardback dustjackets, black paperbacks) to come out approximately six months after Order of the Phoenix); and Deathly Hallows (black hardback dustjackets, house coloured paperbacks) to come out approximately six months after Half-Blood Prince. That is, if, of course, the pattern holds.

March 4, 2020

"Unfinished Tales" Illustrated Edition + 2021 Calendar Ordering Info

Very recently, it was announced that there would be a forthcoming illustrated edition of Unfinished Tales, as well who the artists would be for the 2021 Tolkien Calendar. It was assumed - and it turned out to be true - that the calendar will be based on the forthcoming edition.

Here in one spot are ordering links for the upcoming releases, as this information has come out over time. I will update with cover art, etc, once revealed. I'd be willing to bet that the image I've used for this post ("The Blue Wizards Journeying East" by Ted Nasmith) will be the cover of the standard edition, and possibly appear as a frontispiece in the deluxe edition.

- Unfinished Tales illustrated edition (standard hardback) :
- Unfinished Tales illustrated edition (deluxe edition) :
- 2021 Tolkien Calendar :

I give special mention Blackwell's, as Tolkien himself was a frequent customer there, and he and Basil were neighbours! Prices may go down closer to publication date (possibly when the cover images are released).

Here is the official Tolkien facebook page's announcement:

It was 40 years ago that Unfinished Tales was first published, taking readers on an enchanted journey deeper into Middle-earth, from the First Age of The Silmarillion, the Second Age of Númenor and the rise of Sauron, to the Third Age of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. Contained within are magical tales by J.R.R. Tolkien and edited by his son, Christopher, that expand the world of these beloved books.

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, we are hugely excited to announce that Unfinished Tales is for the very first time going to be illustrated, by not one but three of the finest Tolkien artists in the world. John Howe, Alan Lee & Ted Nasmith will each be contributing brand new paintings that depict the Three Ages of Middle-earth in glorious colour. This new edition will be published in October 2020 and will feature 18 full-colour paintings together with a stunning brand-new dustjacket. There will also be a special collector’s edition housed in a fully illustrated slipcase.
If you can’t wait until October, this year’s official Tolkien Calendar will showcase a gallery of new and classic paintings from Ted, John and Alan depicting scenes from Unfinished Tales, and will be published in September.

March 3, 2020

2021 Tolkien Calendar Details

The details of the 2021 Tolkien Calendar have been revealed! I had a feeling it would be centered around the upcoming illustrated edition of Unfinished Tales. The cover, 'The Blue Wizards Journeying East' by Ted Nasmith, was previously seen as the cover for a paperback in 2010. Slight speculation: I believe that the image used as the calendar's cover will also be the image used for the cover of the illustrated edition of Unfinished Tales. Oh and for the deluxe, it would appear as the frontispiece.

"The official Tolkien calendar, this year containing twelve stunning paintings inspired by the stories collected in UNFINISHED TALES by J.R.R. Tolkien. Three of the world’s finest Tolkien artists present the Three Ages of Middle-earth in breathtaking glory.
The official Tolkien calendar has become an established publishing event, eagerly anticipated by Tolkien fans the world over. Previous Tolkien calendars have become much sought after collector’s items, and this year’s will doubtless be an essential purchase for Middle-earth fans everywhere, as it celebrates the 40th anniversary of UNFINISHED TALES.

To commemorate this special occasion three of the world’s finest Tolkien artists – Ted Nasmith, John Howe, and Alan Lee – have each contributed four full-colour artworks to the Calendar. To accompany each painting, every month features complementary pencil drawings or sketches selected by the artists which are exclusive to this calendar.

In this unique artistic combination, Alan, John and Ted present scenes from the First Age of THE SILMARILLION, the Second Age of Númenor and the fall of Sauron, and the Third Age of THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS, which take the reader deeper into the world of Middle-earth than ever before."

ISBN is 9780008387747, so be sure to order it off of Amazon UK or Blackwell's.

February 29, 2020

Unfinished Tales Illustrated Editions Coming

It has been revealed that there will be a new, illustrated, edition of Unfinished Tales.

It will feature artwork by Ted Nasmith, Alan Lee and John Howe. As of this post, I am unsure if they will be new illustrations, or a compilation of their existing material.

I'm guessing the size dimensions will be the 'standard' size; and not over-sized like The Lord of the Rings 60th anniversary illustrated edition or Jemima Catlin's illustrated Hobbit (reg or deluxe).

The info below follows. Also, remember that these are UK editions, and as such, should be ordered off Amazon UK, Blackwell's or Waterstones for example:

Illustrated Hardback (Standard Edition)

Published: Oct. 1
ISBN: 9780008387952

Illustrated Hardback (Special Slipcased Deluxe Edition)

Published: Oct. 1
ISBN: 9780008387969

Once more info is revealed (cover art, synopsis reflecting these editions, and possibly size dimensions) I'll relay the info here.

Two parting thoughts:

1) it can be assumed that the 2021 Tolkien Calendar will have artwork based off these new editions

2) While this edition won't be illustrated, the cover image could change reflecting the style of the new editions. As of now, it says "Image Coming Soon" : .

More info coming soon, once I know more...

(image used in this post is "The Blue Wizards Journeying East" by Ted Nasmith, and was used as the cover image for the paperback edition of Unfinished Tales in 2010. It was copied directly from his website to this post.)

February 19, 2020

Sir Gawain Deluxe Edition Unveiled

The details of the forthcoming deluxe edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (which also includes Pearl and Sir Orfeo) have been revealed.

Publication date: April 20
ISBN: 9780008393625

"This elegant deluxe slipcased edition of three medieval English poems, translated by Tolkien for the modern-day reader and containing romance, tragedy, love, sex and honour, features a beautifully decorated text and includes as a bonus the complete text of Tolkien’s acclaimed lecture on Sir Gawain.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Pearl are two poems by an unknown author written in about 1400. Sir Gawain is a romance, a fairy-tale for adults, full of life and colour; but it is also much more than this, being at the same time a powerful moral tale which examines religious and social values.
Pearl is apparently an elegy on the death of a child, a poem pervaded with a sense of great personal loss: but, like Gawain it is also a sophisticated and moving debate on much less tangible matters.
Sir Orfeo is a slighter romance, belonging to an earlier and different tradition. It was a special favourite of Tolkien’s.

The three translations represent the complete rhyme and alliterative schemes of the originals, and are uniquely accompanied in this special deluxe slipcased edition with the complete text of Tolkien’s acclaimed 1953 W.P. Ker Memorial Lecture that he delivered on Sir Gawain."

Updated Info on the Forthcoming The Hobbit + The Lord of the Rings Illustrated Editions

I had previously reported that HarperCollins will be (re)publishing Alan Lee's illustrated editions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In this post, I'll provide the cover art, ISBN info (key to ordering those exact copies) and the official product description. Remember that these are UK editions - the US won't be getting them. Buy from Amazon UK, Blackwell's, Waterstones, etc using the ISBN's to ensure you get them. 


ISBN: 9780008376116
Publication date: May 14

"A great modern classic and the prelude to The Lord of the Rings.

Smaug certainly looked fast asleep, almost dead and dark, with scarcely a snore more than a whiff of unseen steam, when Bilbo peeped once more from the entrance. He was just about to step out on to the floor when he caught a sudden thin and piercing ray of red from under the drooping lid of Smaug’s left eye. He was only pretending to sleep! He was watching the tunnel entrance!

Whisked away from his comfortable, unambitious life in his hobbit-hole in Bag End by Gandalf the wizard and a band of dwarves, Bilbo Baggins finds himself caught up in a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Although quite reluctant to take part in this quest, Bilbo surprises even himself by his resourcefulness and his skill as a burglar!

The text of this edition has been fully corrected and revised in collaboration with Christopher Tolkien and is accompanied by a wealth of beautiful watercolour paintings and delicate pencil drawings from Alan Lee."


ISBN: 9780008376123
Publication date: May 14

"The Fellowship of the Ring is the first part of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic adventure, The Lord of the Rings.

Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power – the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ring – the ring that rules them all – which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins.
In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.

The text of this edition has been fully corrected and revised in collaboration with Christopher Tolkien and is accompanied by nineteen watercolour paintings from Alan Lee."


ISBN: 9780008376130
Publication date: May 14

"The Two Towers is the second part of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic adventure, The Lord of the Rings.

Frodo and the Companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. They have lost the wizard, Gandalf, in the battle with an evil spirit in the Mines of Moria; and at the Falls of Rauros, Boromir, seduced by the power of the Ring, tried to seize it by force. While Frodo and Sam made their escape the rest of the company were attacked by Orcs.

Now they continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin – alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.
The text of this edition has been fully corrected and revised in collaboration with Christopher Tolkien and is accompanied by sixteen watercolour paintings from Alan Lee."


ISBN: 9780008376147
Publication date: May 14

"The Return of the King is the third part of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic adventure, The Lord of the Rings.

The Companions of the Ring have become involved in separate adventures as the quest continues. Aragorn, revealed as the hidden heir of the ancient Kings of the West, joined with the Riders of Rohan against the forces of Isengard, and took part in the desperate victory of the Hornburg. Merry and Pippin, captured by orcs, escaped into Fangorn Forest and there encountered the Ents.

Gandalf returned, miraculously, and defeated the evil wizard, Saruman. Meanwhile, Sam and Frodo progressed towards Mordor to destroy the Ring, accompanied by Sméagol–Gollum, still obsessed by his ‘preciouss’. After a battle with the giant spider, Shelob, Sam left his master for dead; but Frodo is still alive – in the hands of the orcs. And all the time the armies of the Dark Lord are massing.

The text of this edition has been fully corrected and revised in collaboration with Christopher Tolkien and is accompanied by fifteen watercolour paintings from Alan Lee."

Boxed set:

ISBN: 9780008376109
Publication date: May 14

"Boxed gift set of Tolkien’s classic masterpieces, fully illustrated throughout in watercolour by the acclaimed and award-winning artist, Alan Lee, Conceptual Designer on Peter Jackson’s THE HOBBIT films.

Since they were first published, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have been two books people have treasured. Steeped in unrivalled magic and otherworldliness, these works of sweeping fantasy have touched the hearts of young and old alike. Between them, nearly 150 million copies have been sold around the world. And no editions have proved more popular than the two that were illustrated by award-winning artist, Alan Lee – the Centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings and the 60th Anniversary edition of The Hobbit.

Now, the new hardback editions of these beautifully illustrated works have been collected together into one boxed set of four books. Readers will be able to follow the complete story of the Hobbits and their part in the quest for the Ring – beginning with Bilbo’s fateful visit from Gandalf and culminating in the dramatic climax between Frodo and Gollum atop Mount Doom – while also enjoying over seventy full-page colour paintings and numerous illustrations which accompany this epic tale."


These look to be quite lovely! I always thought that a one-book illustrated edition of The Lord  of the Rings to be utterly stupid - how do the publishers expect readers to read the book? It's too impractical! A one-book edition of The Lord of the Rings without illustrations is cumbersome as it is! With illustrations, 3 books makes much more sense.

The covers of The Lord of the Rings books is exactly the same as the 1992 illustrated hardbacks by Alan Lee. The Hobbit, meanwhile, always showed Alan Lee's Smaug on the cover. I wish that the covers of these, were also the same images used previously for the illustrated editions: Smaug for The Hobbit, Dwarrowdelf for The Fellowship of the Ring, Orthanc for The Two Towers and Minas Tirith for The Return of the King.

These also look to match Alan Lee's Great Tales hardbacks (The Children of Hurin , Beren and Luthien and The Fall of Gondolin). Because of this (and the size dimensions), these will not be 'oversized' hardbacks, but rather standard hardback size. Also, I have a feeling that it will be a 'mix' of paper type - standard for text and any pencil sketches, with photo-paper ('plates') used for the illustrations. Speaking of illustrations, I'm also curious if The Fellowship of the Ring illustrated frontispiece illustration of the Nazgul will appear as a three-page foldout sheet, the way it did for the 60th anniversary illustrated one-book edition. And, to go further, could we also expect foldout maps? The Children of Hurin and The Fall of Gondolin had them - but not Beren and Luthien for some stupid reason.

These questions will be answered in time once these books are published and we've had a chance to look at them.

...but what about The Silmarillion?

The Silmarillion was illustrated by Ted Nasmith, rather than by Alan Lee. In 1998, the original edition appeared with 18 illustrations Then, in 2004, a second edition appeared with about 50 illustrations - I think the exact number was 48. There was also a paperback edition in 2008 which had some, but not all, the illustrations - 16 in total. But, why I mention The Silmarillion is this - there's no new 'matching' edition to go with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings! The oversized edition from 2004 is still in print/back in print, though due to the size dimensions; it won't 'match' with the new editions The Hobbit and Th Lord of the Rings.

Another thing to think of, if there was a matching edition of The Silmarillion which one would it be? These editions of The Lord of the Rings appear to be quite similar to the original ones from 1992. Would The Silmarillion be similar to the 1998 edition ('Maglor Casts a Silmaril into the Sea' as the cover, and has 18 illustrations), the 2004 edition ('White Ships to Valinor' as the cover, 48 illustrations) or the 2008 paperback ('Ships of the Faithful' as the cover, 16 illustrations)? One final thing to bear in mind is this - the editions from 1998 and 2008 featured a mix of paper (regular for text, photo style for the illustrations), while the 2004 edition was printed entirely on photo paper (like the 2002 illustrated editions of The Lord of the Rings); thus allowing the capability to include more images. 

February 2, 2020

The Next Series

This year, my Tolkien book buying will likely come to an end. Of what's coming out that we know of at this point, I feel like I'm finally finished; and in a sense, ready to go goodbye because of that. Buying Tolkien books has been a part of my life since about 2002.

Now, it's time to look ahead.

The next (possibly 'last') series of books I'm interested in getting are Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels. Most famously, in 2003 Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany starred in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. It adapted portions of some of O'Brian's novels.

I have heard that the books are quite good, and reading up on them, I have become interested. I admit, this particular time period is quite unknown to me. However, the East Coast in me revels at the idea of reading these stories.

The books in the series are:

- Master and Commander: 9780006499152
- Post Captain: 9780006499169
- H.M.S. Surprise: 9780006499176
- The Mauritius Command: 9780006499183
- Desolation Island: 9780006499244
- The Fortune of War: 9780006499190
- The Surgeon's Mate: 9780006499213
- The Ionian Mission: 9780006499220
- Treason's Harbour: 9780006499237
- The Far Side of the World: 9780006499251
- The Reverse of the Medal: 9780006499268
- The Letter of the Marque: 9780006499275
- The Thirteen-Gun Salute: 9780006499282
- The Nutmeg of Consolation: 9780006499299
- Clarissa Oakes: 9780006499305
- The Wine-Dark Sea: 9780006499312
- The Commodore: 9780006499329
- The Yellow Admiral: 9780006499640
- The Hundred Days: 9780006512110
- Blue at the Mizzen: 9780006513780
- The Final Unfinished Journey of Jack Aubrey: 9780007358434

There is also a hardback boxed set, quite similar in presentation to The History of Middle-earth books that has all 12 of the books in 3 omnibus hardbacks. The ISBN for that set is 9780008189280.

I look forward to, one day, getting and reading these books, in either format. (HarperCollins, please keep these exact paperback editions in print...). It's also possible that these may be the final physical books I'll get, by that time. 

Information about the image used in this post:

"H.M.S. Agamemnon" by Geoff Hunt

Nelson’s first flagship leads the squadron, Mediterranean, 1796. Nelson flies his flag as a Commodore, commanding his first squadron. He had commanded the 64-gun battleship ‘Agamemnon’, the ship he referred to as his favorite, since 1793. Nelson was given a Commodore’s pennant in March 1796, making ‘Agamemnon’ his first flagship, just before he transferred to the 74-gun ‘Captain’ in June that year.

In April 1796, Nelson was operating in the Gulf of Genoa with the small squadron depicted in this beautiful print. ‘Agamemnon’ is shown leading ‘Meleager’ 32, ‘Blanche’ 32, ‘Diadem’ 64 and the now-famous 16-gun brig-sloop ‘Speedy’.

The powerful ships of war seem at peace in the tranquil sunset which is disturbed only by Agamemnon’s evening gunnery practice.

Agamemnon was one of seven ships built to the same design, drawn by the same naval architect who designed the famous Victory, Sir Thomas Slade. She was built at Bucklers Hard and launched on the 10th of April 1781. She was a third rate ship, having 64 guns.
She was at the centre of events fighting at the Battle of Saintes, the Battle of Copenhagen and of course, Trafalgar, the summit of her career. Later she served in the West Indies, participating in the Battle of Santo Domingo and then in South American waters, until she was wrecked in Maldonado Bay off the coast of Uruguay in 1809.

During Nelson’s command of the ship between 1793 and 1796 Nelson wrote “Without exception, one of the finest ships in the fleet with the character of sailing most remarkably well”. He also wrote “After 12 days in a storm in the Mediterranean in ‘gales and lumping seas… but in Agamemnon, we mind them not; she is the finest ship I ever sailed in, and were she a 74, nothing should induce me to leave her while the war lasts’.

Highland Park Whiskies I'd Love to Try

Image result for highland park logo

Highland Park is my favourite whisky distillery. This could be because it was their 12 year old that got me into single malts. Of course, I like other distilleries, however I think it's the safe to say that I like Highland Park. Also, I love their 'viking theme.'

Recently, the third and final of their Viking Legends series has come out here in Canada: Valfather. The second one was Valknut, and the first was Valkyrie. They have done other series like that in the past: Dark and Light, and Fire and Ice.

I'm not sure what else they have planned on the horizon, however of what's out now, these are the following I'd like to try:


Highland Park 18 Year Old

18 year (Viking Pride)

Slow-burning, aromatic peat from Hobbister Moor; hand turned floor maltings, Sherry seasoned European oak casks, cool maturation in our temperate island climate and a long and unhurried harmonisation process. Like our founder, Magnus Eunson, we share our Viking ancestors’ commitment to skilled craftsmanship as well as their proud, independent spirit.


Highland Park Dragon Legend Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Dragon Legend

For our ancestors, dragons were both feared and revered, possessing mystical powers but representing the forces of evil. According to legend, the Viking warrior Sigurd killed the evil serpent dragon Fafnir in a battle of great bravery and cunning. Licking the dragon’s blood from his thumb, Sigurd was granted powerful gifts of prophecy and wisdom and became one of the greatest heroes of the ancient Nordic sagas. In DRAGON LEGEND we’ve created single malt as bold and unconventional as Sigurd himself. Our local peat from Hobbister Moor delivers an intense aromatic smokiness that’s melded with a spicy sweetness from long, slow maturation in
sherry seasoned oak casks.
"…the earth shook all about him, and he snorted forth venom on all the way before him as he went; but Sigurd neither trembled nor was afraid at the roaring of him."
The Volsunga Saga


Highland Park Twisted Tattoo 16 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

16 year (Twisted Tattoo)

Tattoos are a vital part of our cultural heritage today. They tell the world who we are, without saying a word. In collaboration with Danish tattoo artist and modern day Viking Soul, Colin Dale, we created the bold design for this whisky, which celebrates the tattoo as a mark of both standing apart and being part of a tribe – just like Highland Park. Colin’s intricate design is inspired by the free-flowing Nordic knotwork found on Viking wood carvings and reflects the Norse legend of the Midgard serpent, which grew so large it twisted round the Earth to grasp its tail in its mouth.


Highland Park Viking Tribe Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Viking Tribe

As an island-based distillery, our community, friends and family in Orkney are vitally important to us and, in VIKING TRIBE, we have created a single malt Scotch whisky that celebrates togetherness and shared experiences. This is a whisky worthy of our own tribe, created to be discovered and shared with like-minded people who value authenticity, fine craftsmanship and a good story waiting to be told, just as we do at Highland Park.

The symbol on the VIKING TRIBE bottle is an interpretation of the knotwork style of 13th century Viking art found in the Urnes Stavkirk in Norway. It means ‘together as one’. This is the legacy we proudly bring to our whisky making and share with our Highland Park tribe today.

VIKING TRIBE is available exclusively on Amazon UK, providing a new way for single malt drinkers to discover, enjoy and share Highland Park.



Highland Park Spirit of the Bear Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Spirit of the Bear

Preparing for battle, Viking warriors believed they could harness the great bear’s mighty power and stamina by wrapping themselves in its skins. These fearless warriors became known as ‘berserkers’, their name derived from the old Norse words ‘ber’ – bear and ‘sekr ‘– skin.

Our island home on Orkney was under Viking rule for over 600 years and their myths and legends have become our own. Intensely smoky with a bold spiciness, SPIRIT OF THE BEAR is inspired by our Viking ancestors’ resilient nature and fierce independence – characteristics that sit at the heart of our whisky making today.

"… his men rushed forwards without armour… and were strong as bears… but neither fire nor iron told upon themselves. These were called Berserker."
The Ynglinga Saga, Chapter 6, Of Odin’s Accomplishments


Highland Park Loyalty Of The Wolf 14 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

14 year (Loyalty of the Wolf)

Both wolf and Viking share the strong instinct to protect and defend family and territory, responding boldly and courageously when faced with threat or danger. Our island home on Orkney was under Viking rule for over 600 years and we are proud of the characteristics we share with our ancestors.

With 14 YEAR OLD LOYALTY OF THE WOLF we celebrate determination, co-operation and courage in a single malt whisky that is both sweet and complex, displaying a fine balance of contrasts, just like the Vikings – and the wolves – themselves.
"Where wolf’s ears are, wolf’s teeth are near."
Volsunga Saga, Chapter 19

Highland Park 16 Year Old Wings of the Eagle Single Malt Scotch Whisky

16 year (Wings of the Eagle)

Here, on Orkney, those earthly winds sweep across our island home too, reaching speeds of over 100 miles per hour in winter. No trees survive such onslaught so our moorland peat is woodless, but rich in fragrant heather, producing the characteristic aromatic smokiness of our whisky.

16 YEAR OLD WINGS OF THE EAGLE celebrates our wild island climate. Its spicy and elegant character reveals a sophisticated combination of flavours, layered as intricately as the feathers of an eagle’s wing.
"There is much to be told. An eagle sits at the top of the ash, and it has the knowledge of many things."
Gylfaginning, The Prose Edda, Chapter 16

Highland Park Voyage of the Raven Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Voyage of the Raven

For our Viking ancestors, the raven was a powerful symbol of victory in battle, success on a voyage and loyalty to the god, Odin.

Intelligent and resourceful, ravens were the trusted guides of those those early voyagers as they left Northern shores in search of new horizons, flying far out across the sea until they found land. Highly prized for their navigation skills, ravens became symbols of good fortune on many a longship sail.

Matured in a high proportion of first-fill sherry seasoned oak casks, VOYAGE OF THE RAVEN delivers mouth-watering flavours of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, black cherries and marzipan, overlaid with our distinctive aromatic smokiness.
The ravens sit on his shoulders and say into his ear all the tidings which they see or hear; they are called thus: Huginn and Muninn. He sends them at daybreak to fly about all the world… Therefore men call him Raven-God.
Gylfaggining, The Prose Edda, Snorri Sturluson, English translation

Highland Park Svein Single Malt Scotch Whisky


Predominantly matured in Sherry seasoned American oak casks, SVEIN delivers powerful notes of crème brûlée, wrapped in a gentle peat smoke.

The Warrior Series is a collection of single malts created exclusively for Duty Free to showcase the very best of Highland Park. Each expression both introduces a key figure from Orkney’s Viking history and demonstrates how the flavours of Highland Park are influenced by cask type.


January 30, 2020

New Editions of "New Spring" Coming

TOR, the US publisher of The Wheel of Time series, will be publishing the prequel novel, New Spring, which originate din the form of a short story.

Both editions will be paperback, and details follow.

New Spring: The Novel by Robert Jordan

First up (and most importantly for collectors) will be the trade paperback edition (same dimensions as a hardback, but paperback instead) which will match the other trade paperback editions, as well as the paperback of The Wheel of Time Companion. It's set to be published on August 18. The ISBN, which is a direct link to this edition, is 9781250774361.

New Spring: The Novel by Robert Jordan

Secondly, New Spring will be coming out in the design style and format of the new mass-market (smaller) paperbacks. Since that these began being published in the fall of 2019, and all the titles aren't yet out, New Spring isn't "missing" in the same that it was in the trade series, which concluded in the fall of 2015.

The publication date for this edition is being published June 30, and the ISBN for it is


While it's not necessary to read New Spring (or start the series with that, as opposed to the first Wheel of Time book, The Eye of the World), it does offer a bit of back story. Not as much gained from say The Silmarillion or The Hobbit in relation to The Lord of the Rings; more like something from the Appendices or Unfinished Tales; to explain what I mean using Tolkien as a way of explaining my point. Robert Jordan was planning on writing two more prequels, though that was to be after he had completed the main Wheel of Time books - which, sadly, didn't happen. Based on the product description, reading the book New Spring then watching Amazon's Wheel of Time series would have a similar effect as reading The Hobbit then watching The Fellowship of the Ring.

"The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

For three days battle has raged in the snow around the great city of Tar Valon. In the city, a Foretelling of the future is uttered. On the slopes of Dragonmount, the immense mountain that looms over the city, is born an infant prophesied to change the world. That child must be found before the forces of the Shadow have an opportunity to kill him.

Moiraine Damodred, a young Accepted soon to be raised to Aes Sedai, and Lan Mandragoran, a soldier fighting in the battle, are set on paths that will bind their lives together. But those paths are filled with complications and dangers, for Moiraine, of the Royal House of Cairhien, whose king has just died, and Lan, considered the uncrowned king of a nation long dead, find their lives threatened by the plots of those seeking power.

New Spring begins Moiraine and Lan's quest to find the Dragon Reborn that will lead to the events of The Eye of the World...and their fateful meeting with Rand al'Thor. New Spring is a perfect jumping-on point for fantasy readers wanting to know more about The Wheel of Time and the forthcoming TV show."

January 23, 2020

"Goblet of Fire" House Editions Published Today

Today the House editions of Goblet of Fire, the 4th Harry Potter novel, was published.

The House editions started off as a celebration of the 20th anniversary; however some of the later books may come sooner than that. For instance, the 20th anniversary for Order of the Phoenix will be 2023, Half-Blood Prince for 2025, and Deathly Hallows for 2027.

The house I got sorted into via Pottermore (read: canon, and not same random internet quiz) is Slytherin, so the Slytherin edition is pictured.

The hardbacks will be the house colours, and the paperbacks will be black; as has been established (this will make a sort of neat 'scarf like pattern' for anyone who gets all 7 House editions in the same format (hardback, paperback) and all the same house.

To find them, go to any UK bookseller (Amazon UK, Waterstones, Blackwell's...) and search for the name of the Harry Potter book, followed by the house you'd want.

I'll keep your posted when the others come out, as well.