For Father's Day: Thor, Whisky of the Gods

If you're looking to spend about $200 on a special gift for dad on Father's Day (June 17) -- one that he can wring quite a bit of pleasure from -- this just might be it: Thor, a new 16 year old single malt Scotch whisky from Highland Park's Valhalla Collection.

"We wanted to create an exciting new range which offers Highland Park fans something both affordable and collectable," says Gerry Tosh, Global Marketing Manager, of the Valhalla Collection, which starts with Thor. "We put Thor first, as he is such a mighty character and deserves his rightful place at the very forefront of this range. Everything about this whisky bellows power; this is quite honestly a true whisky of the gods."

My thinking is: If it's good enough for the gods, it's probably good enough for dad.

Highland Park is no slouch in the single malt world. Established in 1798 on Orkney, it's one of the most remote Scotch whisky distilleries in the world. Its core range of single malts, aged in sherry oak casks, is 12, 18, 25, 30 and 40 Years Old. In June of 2009, respected critic F. Paul Pacult named Highland's 18 Years Old Single Malt Scotch whisky the "Best Spirit in the World."

Whatever. I think it makes a cool-looking gift -- the wood frame resembles a Viking ship -- and one that appeals to the inner Norse in all of us. Or at least in all of our fathers. Especially those from places like Orkney.

The tasting notes might make a more convincing case: The nose is "concentrated and forceful, with an explosion of aromatic smoke, pungent fresh ginger, antique copper, stewed plums, and golden syrup. With water, earthy notes emerge, like a garden after a heavy rain shower."

In other words, wear a raincoat and stand back when pouring.

The effect of Thor on the palate is described thusly: "Thor's high strength grabs the palate and refuses to let go. Initially dry, with fiery gingerbread then vanilla, blackberries, fresh mango, peach and hints of cinnamon. As its big flavors swirl around the mouth, some softer, sweeter notes develop, giving Thor an unexpected layer of complexity and depth." The finish "thunders on, leaving behind lingering notes of sweet vanilla and an intense spiciness."

Come to think of it, I think my rationale for buying this for dad might be better: It looks cool. Plus it's one of a limited edition of 1,500, and you have to figure at least half will be broken within a year or two by a bunch of drunken fathers. But let's not go there.

Seriously: Father's Day is approaching, and the only way to get one of these is by heading to the Highland Distillery -- which, as mentioned, is inconveniently located -- or by purchasing it online.

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