Highland Park Dark Origins gets its name from the origin of the distillery itself. You may wonder what kind of devious acts this “Dark Origins” is referring to. What skeletons does Highland Park have in its closet? What level of thievery, murder and villainous debauchery had to take place to birth this illustrious distillery? I’ll tell you… are you ready? It was distilling without a license!
Like many distilleries, Highland Park traces its roots back to a moonshiner (as we call them in the states). Though unlike many, probably most, Magnus Eunson, was a preacher by day and ran his illegal still at night. To commemorate this boozy priest, Highland Park Dark Origins is made using 2x as many first fill sherry casks as the current Highland Park 12 does. The next logical question of course is how many FFS casks is that exactly? Though that isn’t likely to be a part of the story we’ll ever find out.
Highland Park Dark Origins Info
Region: Islands, Scotland
Distiller: Highland Park
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: ex-Bourbon & ex-Sherry
Highland Park Dark Origins Review
Fuity and malty with some sherry, oily nuts and ash. A light bit of smoke and sulfur round out a mild nose that lacks complexity, but isn’t terrible. Feels like more could have happened here, but didn’t.
Dark fruit, malt, nuts, ash and smoke with just a touch of spice, graham and suffer coming through on its way to the finish. Like the nose it’s not amazing by any means, but it’s also not terrible.
Medium fade of malt, dark fruit, ash and dark sweets.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Ok balance, medium body and a light oily feel.
I was excited when I heard about Highland Park Dark Origins, but all in all it’s rather muted. I was expecting more from it and I honestly like the current Highland Park 12 year better. While the current 12 isn’t as good as the old round or slope shoulder bottles it has a bit more depth of character than the HPDO does. Highland Park Dark Origins has an ok range of flavors and aromas but it lacks that defining character you used to find so prevalent in the older releases and maybe that’s a sign.
Maybe the Highland Park Dark Origins is both a nod to the past and a hint at the future. This is the (dark) origin of the new Highland Park style. This is what they’re going to be building themselves around and moving towards over the coming years. Or maybe I’m reading too much into the name and this is just another NAS expression of Highland Park, a hooded figured joining their Gods and heroes.
SCORE: 80-82/100 (B-, not consumed at home)
Highland Park Dark Origins Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose - 81
- Palate - 81
- Finish - 82
- Balance, Body & Feel - 80
Highland Park Dark Origins is an ok whisky and worth a taste. I know some folks who absolutely love this whisky, but it’s a bit off for me. Worth a taste though if you can get it cheap.