In tribute to its Viking forebears, the 200-year-old Orkney Island distillery Highland Park unveiled its four-scotch Valhalla series last year. The reclusive master distiller created the limited edition bottlings as boredom-staving alchemical experiments – small-batch departures from the daily slog of making award-winning hooch. While the first whiskey, Thor, turned out to be a relatively straightforward (and delicious) single malt, the series' second installment, Loki, is a far cry from anything the distillery has created before.
Named after the shape-shifting Norse god, Loki is a complex 15-year-old single malt matured in traditional Spanish sherry casks as well as heavily peated casks. The result is a surprising mix of intense smoke and light color, the whiskey moving from lemon notes to smoky texture before finishing with a sweet aftertaste of soft vanilla. At 48.7 percent ABV, Loki is a slow sipper best shared – only 20,000 bottles were released in time for Father's Day. [$200; highlandpark.co.uk]