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If you’re just getting into single malts, this is a great place to start. ‘The great all-rounder.’ There are sherried elements, highland elements, and peaty elements. There’s smoothness, balance, and a regard for quality barley. And I even like the bottle. Good for beginners and connoisseurs alike. I loved this back in the day. It used to be a cabinet mainstay.
Nose: Sherry, sultanas, apples, pears, oranges, pomegranate, thick caramel, juicy barley, salt, faint smoke, and a gentle floral character. With time more vanilla, honey, and grass emerges.
Palate: Richly bodied with a gentle arrival. Sultanas, red fruit, thick caramel, burnt honey, gentle salt, slightly grassy, and a very rich barley note.
Finish: Sultanas and sherry still dominate, but the peat becomes more pronounced. Herbal, grassy, and floral. Thick caramel, anise, red fruits, apple skins, oranges, burnt honey, and hay. Short-to-medium finish, with the clarity of the notes being dulled by a blanket of caramel. This is pretty good, but it’s no longer a favorite. In terms of the flavours, caramel tends to dominate (as it does for most of their core range). There’s some clarity from the peripheral notes, but not as much as I’d like. As always, the barley flavour is great and there’s good balance. But I feel like the wood notes aren’t what they used to be. I don’t know if it’s their casks that have changed or just me. Admittedly, my palate has become more ‘demanding,’ but this whisky was great company back in my, umm, err, ‘formative years?’ Sadly it’s less impressive these days.
So... who wants to drink a single malt at 40%? Well, newcomers do. And what better whisky to welcome newcomers into the world of single malts than HP12? It certainly helped me along. Because of our long history together, HP12 still gets its due respect. I suppose nothing lasts forever, but it’s still good.