TR Review: Highland Park “Thor” Scotch Whisky

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I’ve had more than a few companies offer to send me booze for review on TR. I manage to turn most of them down, because very little alcohol can construed as nerdy, and thus it really has no business being on the site despite how much I’d love to get free liquor sent directly to my door. Recently — and ever so happily — I found an exception.

Meet Thor, the first scotch in Highland Park’s Valhalla Collection. It’s not any kind of an official Marvel movie or Avengers tie-in, obviously. If you’re wondering if I’m permitting myself this review solely because this scotch is named Thor and Thor is currently a very popular comics and movie character, I can truthfully say no, because also 1) Highland Park makes really great scotches 2) I really really love scotch. So I was weak. Shut up.
Let’s start with a few details: Thor comes in the amazing wooden Viking longship frame you see in the upper-right. I didn’t drink the whole bottle before doing this review; they only sent a little, as it’s a limited edition of 23,000 bottles (only 1,500 in the U.S. — a bottle is about $200). Thor is 104 proof and aged 16 wonderful years. If you’re wondering what a Norse god like Thor has to do with scotch — well, you weren’t alone.
But here’s the thing, and you’re going to think I’m crazy — after drinking it, I don’t think this is the scotch of the mythological Thor, but Marvel’s Thor. It’s not necessarily the Thor that wore furs and shouted in Norse and raped everybody, but a Thor that lives in another dimension, wears a cape, and speaks old English for no reason whatsoever. This scotch takes a classic idea and makes it bizarre, unique, and yet somehow still familiar. Let me put it another way: Norse god or no, I can see Marvel’s Thor drinking this scotch. I can definitely see Beta Ray Bill drinking it.
The smell is smooth, earthy and sweet. The taste is likewise smooth, but with smoky hints of vanilla, a touch of honey, and a soft peatiness — but it’s still powerful, with a strong, clear finish with just enough spiciness that one might be tempted to liken to a powerful blow from Mjolnir if one were so inclined. If you think I’m ashamed for writing that, you’re wrong — because that’s seriously the image that comes into my head when I drink it. I can’t help it. And for god’s sake, it comes in a viking longship you can turn into a funeral pyre when the bottle is empty. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do with a scotch when I was done with it, and I didn’t even know it!
I don’t know how many of you are scotch drinkers, or can afford it, or can even legally drink (if you answered yes to all three, you can purchase Thor here). All I can tell you is that Highland Park’s Thor is an excellent scotch, and I’m not just saying that because I ran FFF today. I can’t recommend it more highly than that.