In the first of a new series, we begin our drinking journey around the world with Vikings, whisky salesmen, and drinks that look like wee-wee
Elk, fjords, and loads and loads of oil. Tiny little islands and topographical oddity. Norway is, objectively, one of the best places in the world, and, as anyone who has been will insist on endlessly telling you, it looks nice too. Unfortunately, it's easier to sell a weird combination of national history and mythology (Braveheart, Highlander, Maisie the Cat) than a semi-factual representation of a nation's current social and political outlook. With that in mind, Highland Park are releasing a new Norse-inspired whisky. It's called Thor.
Thor, to quote Highland Park, 'takes inspiration from the legendary Nordic gods of old. Not for the faint hearted, only those brave enough to accept the challenge of Thor shall be rewarded with the ultimate experience; a whisky of divine power.' You too can leap buildings in a single bound, and dispense mythologically sound street justice by way of an enormous hammer, thanks to the 'divine power' vested in you by this whisky. And in case you doubted the providence of this whisky, know that it retails in a display case based on a Viking longboat.
So far so funny, but surely this kind of cultural exchange is a good thing – we get some Norse variety in our hard liquor, and Norwegians see their folklore spread further out into the world by means of said liquor. Everyone's happy, right? Nope.
For one thing, Norway does in fact have its own local beverages. Spirit-wise, the Norwegians tend to plump for Akvavit, a caraway or dill-flavoured spirit that looks a tiny bit like urine. We're informed by recent visitors that it doesn't actually taste like urine though, so that's a redeeming feature.
Secondly, Norway is terrifyingly expensive. In a typical Norwegian pub, two beers will set you back £14. You can't even cry into your beers, because that'd just dilute them and make the problem even worse. Given those circumstances, and the hilariously high taxes on foreign food that meant that the entire country ran out of butter just before Christmas, it's hard to see the locals plumping for our Viking-inspired whisky, even if it does come in its own longboat.
So, to sum up: Norway is an almost heavenly land of incredible history, abundant resources and stunning natural beauty. It is represented here on Earth by a mythologically-inspired spirit that's brought its own transport. Still, at least it doesn't look like pee.