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This HP is bottled by Master of Malt through their That Boutique-y Whisky Company label. And it's a great label - it shows Charlemagne gesturing toward a group of 38 people sitting by a ruin; it turns out they are all part of a masterclass that was put on by TBWC.
The colour is a medium amber (a shade lighter than the 12 Year Old). The nose is shy - but you sense the rich sherry intermingling with the malty peat. Cinnamon, cloves and oak - though NAS, this feels older than the 12 Year Old. Tropical fruits and berries. Balsamic. Water draws out some peat smoke. Somewhat similar to the 12 Year Old except shyer, not as spicy, but with seemingly more wood influence. Quite nice.
The palate is smooth and rich, full of raisins, dates and plums, with the peat well into the background. A little minty. Some nutmeg and cloves are there as well. Meaty. More complexity with water. Delicious.
The long finish has building spices, more oak and dark fruits. Mouthwatering. While still retaining the house character of Highland Park, they are surprisingly different. The indie bottling has more sherry influence and greater richness, but has less zip and is not as yielding. Thank God I don't have to choose one over the other, and can have both!!