Thanks to /u/valhallacasino for this sample.
Why’d I write this review series? Cause I got High(land Park).
I regret nothing.
I personally hunt down tasters of different whisky groups. If someone releases a limited edition, four-parter, I’m a sucker for it. And it bugs me so much when I can’t try the others. Because while “limited” may mean anything from 80 bottles to 30,000, some of these end up taking up dust spots and nobodies opening them.
Similarly, whenever a Marvel movie comes out, I take the limited chance to see them in a VIP theatre (better chairs, service to where you’re sitting, alcohol, 19 years old and up only). Why? Because my stacks of Marvel comics reminds me of a time when they relaxed me on Wednesdays. They were my escape from class.
Thus it comes as no surprise that I wanted to get my hands on a sample of Highland Park Thor, for the now obvious overlap. In my past reviews, you’ll see it was the only sample missing from the Valhalla. I casually mentioned this to /u/devoz, who was shocked that I was willing to pay a high cost at a local bar (which, to be fair, had to pay said high cost to obtain it, so I hold no ill will towards them) just to finish it up.
So Highland Park Thor, what’s the deal? Well, this whisky was the first one made in the Highland Park’s Valhalla Collection. The idea? Cask Strength bottlings that came with intricate cases named after Norse Gods. This one? The Norse God of Thunder, creator of the Cliffs of Yesnaby on Orkney’s west coast, and making women convert every time he’s on film.
But how will the whisky hold up? Will it be a Ragnarok level of humour and pithiness, or will it be a Dark World mess? Let’s see, shall we?
Price: Not available at the LCBO anymore
Stated Age: 16 years old
Number of Bottles: 23,000 bottles
Colour: 10Y 6/10
Nose: Peach pie, cereal, black liquorice, mineral, apple brown Betty
Initial butter and peach, which is nice. Then it goes all cereal to temper my thoughts. Then to some strong liquorice… Okay?
Mineral is there. This bounces back and forth from simple to complex. I’m not annoyed, though the simple aspects are throwing me off. I guess it’s only 16 years old, though may throw you off. Water brings out a beautiful apple brown Betty, so I can’t stay mad.
We’re at Thor 1 at the moment then.
Taste: Anise, dinner rolls, mineral, peach, butter, jujubes
Spice, and the cereal has hit a breadier note of complexity. Alright, we’re working. Mineral is still sitting around like that one friend who doesn’t know when it’s time to go home (and as that kid growing up, I know).
Water makes a sweeter, gelatin flavour. Like strong fake fruit. It’s odd. Falling to the Dark World on the taste.
Finish: Orange juice, mineral, dry, butter, cinnamon toast crunch
Alright here we go. The finish is where it’s getting going, finally. Orange juice is the right balance, mineral makes sense as it goes with the dry buttery and better-worked cereal. Spice even works here.
Now we’re at a point where Taikka is directing.
Conclusion: So, is this Ragnarok level of good? No, sadly. But is it Dark World level of bad? Not at all. It’s where they started. It’s a dram that seemingly had some impressive casks and some just okay casks. There are complex notes that pop up and try to reach for giants on the shoulders of dwarves, but as anyone who’s dealt with dwarves will tell you, don’t step on them.
Really don’t step on anyone unless they let you, frankly.
This dram takes good aspects of cinnamon and butter and hopes you centre on them. It does cereal well at times, and not well at times. I’m glad I finished up the series, and I’m sad that this dram is cut off from people due to price. I think at a lower cost it’d be worth it.
So basically it’s Thor, the first movie.
Scotch review #965, Island review #109, Whiskey Network review #1522