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This is my first review - I've been considering writing one for some time, but I haven't opened a new bottle for a while and so haven't had that 'Wow! New taste!' rush for some time. Things have changed.
This is a gorgeous malt - it's a perfectly balanced study in the whisky-producing regions of Scotland. Whilst I seem to have found the nose rather lighter than my fellow reviewers, this whisky is absolutely bursting with flavour!
From the moment I sipped it there was a blast of honey rushing through my mouth with a perfect little dash of firey peat coming through afterwards to 'crisp off' the taste. As it moves on there's a touch of salt creeping in - I'm instantly reminded of the heather-covered hills of the Shetlands (my ancestral home) and the ever-present menace of the high seas. Wow. My first whisky-inspired bout of nostalgia!
Others have criticised the finish as brief: I must have had a fantastic bottle as my experience is completely the opposite. The distinctive honey-salt taste lingers at the back of my mouth for some time and fades gently away in a perfectly charming way.
HP12 is, to me, like a masterful piece of furniture - everything has smooth, rounded edges and the flavours are perfectly balanced and married together with consummate style. There's a feeling of 'shininess' that's present from the very first sniff and sip. The honey-salt-peat combination is absolutely perfect. I've been looking for a premium(ish) bottle to buy and if HP's 12 is this good, the 18 is coming up next!
I always read these reviews before buying a bottle to see if I think it'll suit my palate, so I thought I'd quickly list a couple of other bottles I'd associate this with. In short, I'd put it as a mix between Bowmore Legend (incidentally I prefer Legend to 12) and Dalwhinnie 15. It's like the best of both worlds. Glorious!