The sweet meets the peat as was promised. Honey, golden syrup, salted caramel and an assortment of dried fruits provide a warm sugary introduction. This is followed by the traditional aromatic, floral HP peat, which is indeed upped a notch for this release. It’s quite ashy and is supported by some damp earthy hay-like malts which provide depth. Light citrus, apple peels and a healthy dose of oranges make for rather the fruit orchard. Both smoke and sweetness are enhanced after a short period of resting. The addition of water is interesting – immediate orange barley water with a hint of ginger!
A tingly sugary arrival which subsides quickly in to nice viscosity. Excellent translation from the nose – the rich prominent fruits, distinctive heathery smoke and damp hay malts form a well-balanced medley of sweet meeting peat. The fruits are enriched here, turning to marmalades and preserves and are accompanied by some nutty flavours and light cask spicing. Less benefit for adding water here – which dulled some of the liveliness of the top-end flavours.
Medium in length with a good balance between sweetness and oak bitterness. Slight astringency.
Whilst the colour of Dragon Legend is similar to the 12 year old, and both possess the trademark HP heathery peat, the comparison for the most part stops that. This is rather the different beast. Dragon Legend pronounces both the sweeter and smokier aspects of the HP DNA – in many ways you could see it as a step in the direction of Valkyrie (released earlier in 2017) – and I find it largely successful in that regard. There’s certainly enough complexity and distillery character to be able to recommend this whisky at its £40 price tag.