When it comes to single malt scotch whisky, it’s hard to think of a brand more consistently enjoyable than Highland Park. We’ve put Highland Park on many of our gift guides because it never fails to deliver an exceptional drinking experience. Recently Highland Park announced their Valhalla Collection, a special annual release for the next four years of whiskies that are inspired by Nordic Gods. The first release in this series is a 16 year old single malt called Thor. Presented in a stunning wooden frame (click here for a full picture of the packaging), Thor is a limited release bottling with only 1,500 bottles sold in the United States.
Highland Park Thor 16 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky (52.1% 104.2 proof, $199) is golden amber in color with a slightly sweet and fruity nose. Peach, vanilla, and berry intermingle with a soft malt note. There’s the slightest hint of peat underneath but the overall character is light, sweet, and soft. Thor’s entry is a burst (or Thor Hammer if you’d like to stick with the theme) of flavor. The sweet vanilla and peach from the nose are there but they are strongly backed by ginger, cinnamon, and oak spice. Rather than build, Thor evens out in the midpalate, giving you a chance to dig through all the layers of flavor. It’s a little bit of an inversion to many of its peers that start off softer and build. In addition to ginger, peach, cinnamon, and oak, the berry note from the nose makes a return along with sweet malt, honey, and the slightest hint of smoky peat. The finish on Thor is long and slightly dry with a nice combination of honeyed vanilla, ginger, and oak spice. The finish is a little drier than most but it’s a result of the high proof.
Thor’s mighty proof really comes across more as strong flavor than alcohol burn. The midpalate is a unique oasis of sorts for such a high proof spirit, with an unexpected softness that helps add to the slightly puzzling complexity of this spirit. For fans of Highland Park, Thor is going to be an absolute treat. Thor delivers a lot of the familiar flavors that we’ve come to know and love from Highland Park, and delivers them in a way we’ve never seen.
With only 1,500 bottles released of Thor, it may be a little hard to come by, but like other recent limited releases (including Glenfiddich Cask Of Dreams and Snow Phoenix), it will be well worth jumping on a bottle of this before it vanishes.