Rain lashes the window in an uneven staccato as your breath makes white fog on the pane.  You hold The Dark up to the light, admiring the way the fire flickers in the heart of the russet-colored whisky.  Highland Park’s sumptuous blend of dried fruits, cinnamon, toasted almonds, cedar, fruitcake, and smoky peat warms your mouth as you take another sip.

The 17-year-old single-malt whisky has been expertly crafted to evoke autumn and winter on Orkney, the remote archipelago off the northernmost reaches of Scotland.  A serpent-dragon writhes on the jet-black bottle, while the circles on the oak cradle represent the sun during the summer and winter solstices.  Stowed in a corner of your favorite haunt, you think comfortably of bearded Vikings smacking tankards down on long, wooden tables and navigating clinker-built longships through roughly heaving seas.  You shudder complacently within your circle of friends and pour yourself another dram.

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