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The word Hjärta is Norwegian for heart. As you are probably aware, the Orcadians have more in common with the Norwegians than with the Scots. They are more Vikings than men of the kilt. This bottling was launched in 2009 to celebrate the reopening of the visitor center. The bottles were for sale only at the distillery and in certain Scandinavian shops (thank you for proving my point). It is no more or less than the standard 12 Year Old, but at cask strength and with 20% from very active first fill sherrycasks, as the dark color shows.
The nose is round and sweet, very creamy like butter, on heather, orangettes, honey, vanilla, discrete smoke and sugared cappuccino. There is also a hint of sulphur, but this is (strange as it may sound) an added value here. The influence of the first fill sherry cask is unmistakable. The ABV made me wary for an alcohol bomb, but I should not have worried. It is very accessible and inviting. Adding some water makes it sweeter still with more lime.
On the palate, however, the ABV makes itself be known. Wow! Hoo-haa! Wonderfully mouthcoating and powerful on the attack. Creamy like coffee licqueur, a whole rack of herbs, honey, lemon, coconut and strawberry jam. Yep, that is right. And a good helping of the sweet Orkney peat. It takes water very well, that brings out dried fruits.
The finish is long on liquorice and herbs.
What a great HP, without a doubt one of the better recent releases. Sold initially for around 100 EUR. But no longer available at that price. Rather triple that. Oh, well.