The "old" HP is one of my favorite OB whiskeys, perhaps "the" favorite. I knew that they had stopped adding coloring and the whiskey does seem to be a couple of shades lighter, but still a nice amber hue. On the palate the balance had shifted. I notices quite a bit less honey in the middle, and definitely more organics (peat and earthiness) in the finish.
Overall it's a change, for some people maybe a change for the better, for other people probably not. Me? I figure I've got till the end of the bottle to make up my mind
I've had a couple of independent expressions which have never seem caramel in their life and they are brilliant - particularly the Signatory bottlings. So HP without caramel holds no fear for me
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