Highland Park Dark Origins is a new addition to the core range. It refers to the origins of the distillery, a time when the founder Magnus Eunson had to pull ‘dark’ tricks to smuggle his illicit products and stay two steps ahead of the exciseman.
Dark Origins has no age statement, but it’s said to be a teenager which uses twice as much first fill sherry casks than the 12 years old (i.e. 80%, of which two thirds was European oak), hence with supposedly darker flavours.
Highland Park Dark Origins
(46.8%, OB 2014)
Dark doesn’t really refer to its colour, in any case. Mind that it’s a natural colour. Nose: sherry alright. Almonds and hazelnuts, soaked raisins and baked apple. Cinnamon and nutmeg. Some butterscotch. Oranges. A big smoked / charred note as well. A slightly fuller nose than the other youngster in the core range.
Mouth: medium-sweet. Quite tarry and smoky for a HP expression, which means limited complexity and some rubber. Slightly woody as well, with hints of mint, pepper and a bitterish edge. Earthy notes, liquorice and dark cocoa.
Finish: long, smoky and oaky. Sweet cereals and herbal notes in the background.
This is a peatier, smokier kind of Highland Park. Darker indeed. The dark side works well with the sherry notes on the nose, but it’s a little harsh and oaky on the palate. Around € 75 – available from stores around Europe and the US later this month.