This batch seems darker to me than those from 2018 or 2020, for example. This batch also has more sherry in the nose and taste - well, if that's not supposed to be HP's quality offensive given in interviews... I might just have it otherwise lucky.
To me, this is a very different HP12... confusing, but in a good way.
I'll have to do some re-testing, otherwise this is one of the best batches I've had from the HP12 in the last five years.
--> Post-test: I'm sticking with it; one of the best batches I've had of HP12 Viking Honor so far
[91 - 87 = extremely tasty -> I'd better get a second bottle]
sweetish, honey, caramel, toffee, vanilla, dark fruits (raisins, plums), the typical HP orange note is also recognizable.
And an amazing amount of smoke - I didn't remember that with the 12er. The smoke is again of the "sweet heather" variety, but maritime approaches are also noticeable (salty sea breeze).
With more air contact, the fruits become darker and stronger, and brown sugar/marzipan is added. The spiciness of Christmas biscuits remains discreetly in the background, but always comes into focus.
The sweetness reminds me of fairground booths with candied fruits.
There are also the light fruits, but they are not as dominant in this batch as I remembered.
light spice, creamy, dark fruits, light fruits, honey, caramel, combination of milk and dark chocolate. Smoke - I didn't remember that with the 12er either.
2nd Sip: softer (ok, that's where the 40% comes through), but still strong enough, spicy, the fruits take a back seat and the spices come to the fore. Again tart approaches of dark chocolate.
The heather smoke turns into a maritime smoke, slightly (wet) ashy; here, too, a light salty sea breeze on the tongue.
medium length, spice, smoke, tannins - ok, here it is and remains rather unspectacular. But the aroma and taste pull everything out.