There’s always a steady influx of HP bottles to choose from – this one has one of the highest ABV’s I’ve seen from an SMWS no.4 bottling. Matured in a refill ex-oloroso butt (though unclear if full-term of just a finish). Deep, rich & dried fruits profile.
Nose: Warm pastries, stewed fruits (orange and cherry), toffee and roasted peanuts provide a backdrop for BBQ’d meat (burnt ends and pork ribs), salted chocolate and inland floral smoke. Reduction heightens the salinity of this whisky as well as adding in spongey ginger cake.
Taste: Bigger smoke influence now – with soot, fireplace wood and scorched hay fields. Red berries and darker fruits (plums) are joined by dark chocolate, a slice of gateaux and plenty of rum-soaked raisins. The mid-palate has aniseed and liquorice (Black Jack chews), burnt toffee and honeycomb that’s been taken too far when adding bicarbonate. The addition of water as burnt biscuits and both ginger and pepper spicing.
Finish: Medium, with charred toffee pieces, wood embers and pepper.
This rich and intensive sherried HP is one of the better examples I’ve tasted in a while. The sweet, spicy fullness sits excellently with the underlying distillery character with neither overpowering the other. Neat balancing and pretty delicious to boot. Well recommended.