Taking inspiration in the distinctly Nordic heritage and unforgiving climate of the Orkney Islands where the celebrated Highland Park distillery stands, the recently launched Thor single malt scotch whisky is as powerful as the Norse god for which it's named. As the first release from the much anticipated Valhalla Collection, the 16 year single malt is characterized by a "forceful" nose dominated by "an explosion of aromatic smoke". Once past these initial notes of gingerbread, cinnamon and vanilla, the dry flavors give way to a sweet body that settles nicely on the palette, making Thor one of the more memorable spirits we've sipped recently.
Bottled at 52.1% abv—nearly 9% stronger than the highly sought-after Highland Park 18—the concentrated Thor is unabashedly flavorful when enjoyed neat and responds well to a splash of water, mellowing the peaty bite to a more mortal level. While some purists may scoff at the idea, Thor has the integrity to withstand a bit of dilution while remaining strong enough to put a bit of hair on your chest.
The truly elemental spirit is an absolutely delicious departure for Highland Park, and with only 1,500 bottles being released Stateside—23,000 worldwide—it's sure to create quite a stir. Visit Highland Park online to purchase directly for $200 a bottle.
Images by Graham Hiemstra