Well, I’m fashionably late to the HP Fire party, I know, but my review samples was delayed (thank you Israeli Bloody Mail) and It seems it has popped up now. In case your’e not up to speed with recent HP releases, this is the 2nd release in the ‘Elements’ series, with the ‘Ice Edition’ (my review here) being the predecessor. This time this is a 15 year old expression matured for 15 years in 100% refill Port wine seasoned casks. While the bottle color is quite red (don’t even get me started on the design), the whisky itself is not as pink as one might expect from an ex-Port cask… There were 18,000 bottles of HP Fire edition , and the RRP is £190 which is not cheap.
Nose: Note as wine-centric as one would expect from a 15 year old full term Port cask , but that can be attributed to the 2nd fill casks, which imparted some Port notes, alright, but not too much, which is fine, as it let’s the HP DNA shine. There are some red fruit up front, with black berries, and some prunes, more of a berry marmalade or jam, but not over the top with sweetness, there’s also some cinnamon bark, and malty aromas coming through. There’s also a hint of smoke, and maybe a slightly sooty /charcoal-y touch, It does feel very much like the kind of nose one hopes to find in an HP. 45,2 does not offer quite a lot of oomph though, i would have loved to see this getting bottleed at 48% and up.
Palate: Light smoke, with a citrus edge, and some of the red fruit also making a comeback, there’s cinnamon and vanilla as well as the red/dark fruit compote / Jam ,a nice continuation of the nose. A few touches of pepper, and more sweet smoke.
Finish: Berries, sweet smoke and pepper.
This unlike the Ice edition , has more of the HP DNA, which is nice, and the wine influence is not very pronounced (which is good if you’re not a fan of big Port influenced whiskies). I can’t find anything bad to say about this whisky, It’s very well made, but the price tag of 190 quid or so, if WAY over the top. I wish it would be bottled at cask strength, then it would make more sense… I’d opt for the 18 year old , any time at half the price of this one. If you’re an HP collector and MUST have all expressions – get one. Otherwise, I find it very hard to justify the price tag. (yes, the case and bottle are expensive).
Good whisky, all in all. but as for VFM, it’s not a very good value. Still available, not selling quite so fast , i reckon.