Highland Park Dark Origins

Highland Park Dark Origins

Highland Park’s latest offering sees them return to their roots, and I mean really return to their roots: pre-distillery foundation roots. Legend has it that the founder of Highland Park, Magnus Eunson, was a beadle and butcher by day, and one of the most cunning and ingenious smugglers of illicit whisky by night. In honour of his less-than-honourable moonlit errands, HP have released a dark and mysterious NAS whisky, Dark Origins, which uses twice as many first fill sherry casks than the entry level Highland Park 12yo. To save you (and me) from working out exactly what this means, our mate Jake over at Master of Malt has already done the maths – so if it’s wrong, blame him.

Highland Park Dark Origins
46.8% ABV
£65 available soon

Nose: Lighter notes of vanilla and butterscotch are soon consumed by rum soaked raisins, chocolate covered Brazil nuts, dark cherries and some charred steak. It’s quite earthy and mossy with a bit of oak too.

Palate: Big. Bigger than any other HP I’ve tried I think. Thick wood smoke, charred meat (again), balsamic vinegar, McCoys flame grilled steak crisps, cocoa powder, dark treacle and faint cigar.

Finish: Oaky and sooty with earthy peat and date/prune sweetness.

Overall: A big hitting Highland Park. This is a step away from the heathery, honeyed, gently smoky 12yo and a giant stride towards an unadulterated, in-your-face, hardcore expression. For all the historical legends, the hooded David Beckham lookalike on the box, and the atmospheric advertising video with Global Brand Advocate Daryl Haldane (see below), the liquid is essentially a different beast from what you’d normally expect from Highland Park. There’s been a lot of debate about NAS whiskies recently, both on this blog and on others, and I have to say that this is a great example of how to do an NAS bottling. Make it different, make it interesting, use different types of cask, use a bucketload of peat, show a different side to your spirit, and crucially, make sure it tastes fucking awesome. Well done HP, well done.


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