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Highland Park Dark Origins

46.8% ABV - Orkney Islands, Scotland

Nose: Initially very sweet before some red fruits, prune, and the true Sherried nose hits. Slight must (that’s the smoke) and spices. Very approachable.

Taste: Lots of classic Sherry flavours with an emphasis on red fruits like plum and raisin. Hints of soft fruit candy and a saline characteristic. Peat smoke and black pepper lead into the finish.

Finish: Red fruit compote, oak wood—slightly drying, citrus, and wafts of smoke.

Highland Park Dark Origins is reportedly a combination of 80% First Fill ex-Sherry casks (60% European Oak and 20% American Oak) and 20% Refill ex-Sherry.

I’m generally quite disappointed this bottling has been discontinued, but I managed to get one more before they all disappeared. And one was enough for me. The next Highland Park that I would replace this with would be the 16-Year Twisted Tattoo, and if that was not available then I’d try to find Full Volume.

Dark Origins reminds me of Bowmore 10-Year Dark & Intense. They are both tasty, affordable expressions with a decent smack of ex-Sherry influence, but are both still lacking an overall complexity. Maybe I also draw the comparison to them each sharing "Dark" in the expression name... Highland Park Dark Origins is overall an excellent whisky, but with the black-coloured bottle, it’s really difficult to tell how much you have left!

Tasted 20 September 2020, 02 March 2021. (Posted 07 March 2021.)

91/100
Detailed Rating Information...

90+: Fantastic whisky; highly recommended. My favourite whiskies – I might have more than one bottle if the price is right and the supply is limited! The higher values in this range will reflect a stronger balance and consistency between components.
85-89: Great whisky; recommended. Whiskies that really tick the flavour boxes and you'll likely hear about these from me. Great bottles to have stocked at all times.
80-84: Very good whisky; recommended, but still consider trying before you buy. Anything is this range or above I would gladly order at a restaurant or buy a bottle.
75-79: Good whisky; consider trying before you buy. These are whiskies that I enjoyed drinking, but likely would reach for another bottle from the shelf or select something different to order.
65-74: Average; consider trying before you buy, but not recommended. There is nothing that stood out about this whisky and I might be inclined to mix it with soda or in a cocktail, instead of trying to enjoy its own flavours.
50-64: Bad; not recommended.


Whisky Bottle