The Whisky Tasting Club

Highland Park ready for the Big Thor

Highland Park Thor 52.1%

Somebody congratulated Highland Park on its superb marketing campaign for its new Thor expression today. Really? I hope Gerry Tosh and my friends at the distillery don’t mind me saying this, but I thought  it was a load of old …well, tosh, actually (sorry Gerry! Still love you. mwa, mwa)

It started some 12 days a go, with a black box in the post, in which was a shiny silver stone or ‘rune’ in a bag and a cryptic  message written in pseudo Goth speak. And no whisky!

Then four days later another stone. More dramatic words –  and no whisky. And four days ago, this:
“Few are chosen to drink with the gods. Open this pouch with bravery in
your hearts. The secrets of the runes will be revealed as four days pass and
you will be rewarded for your valour.”

Blimey, I thought a piss up to mark a new Spinal Tap album.

Finally, yesterday, an invitation arrived to celebrate Thorsday (ouch!) and a whisky sample. And the message was equally laughable.

Highland Park Thor is truly a whisky of the gods? In all truth, it’s not is it?

But it is absolutely stunning.

Highland Park is perhaps one of the most versatile and diverse distilleries anywhere in the world, and its releases  follow no defined style. Core whiskies tend to balance honey, fruit, oak, spice and peat with some structure, but when the distillery goes off piste, as here, anything might happen – and does.

I can’t remember which vintage it was but a while back Highland Park released a malt which sailed west and south towards Islay. This doesn’t quite go that far but it has an oily, maritime fishing boat quality to it that would be intriguing on its own. But it’s not on its own. There’s a slight menthol, liquorice quality to it, and the distillery’s trademark honey characteristics are here, but in soft, mellifluous form. It’s powerful alright, (though it doesn’t remind me of the smell of Thor’s hammer hitting stone) but it’s sexy and sensual, too – and peat,fruit, and spice are in attendance but subtly. It’s a cracker, a 90 plus whisky – and I’m definitely buying some.

ed: Thor is a “limited” release of 20,000 bottles and is priced at around £115. They have set up his own facebook page!/pages/Thor/302896433061877



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