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Whisky Reviews for Highland Park Dark Origins
25 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 85.24 points
- Absolute top whisky. In this price segment, the best I have ever drunk. Very good balance between smoke and fruitiness. Also has a proper sea character!
- new reference that can be drunk better, because of my growing attraction to sherrys?
malt, black fruits, woody
vanilla, spices, butter, sherry that comes little by little, one side that stings version smoke, no I do not feel peat
candied orange, cocoa, old wood and sweet spices that stay well in the glass
- Big, brutal, black.
This is a bit of a funny whisky from Highland Park. It lacks all the usual finesse that people over the years have associated with the distillery and in its place there’s this loud, brash, bombastic dirty sherry bomb, all wrapped in black and looking like a whisky only a goth could love.
This is another one of those whiskies that really grabbed my attention the first time I poured a dram. I can remember it coming out and getting a lot of flack for how it looked, the fact it was a NAS release and that the price was considered to be over the top. It probably was a few quid over the odds but you could find it on offer if you looked and then it actually became something of a real bargain.
Smell and taste wise ‘dirty’ is a good descriptor.
On the nose, sherry, a certain oldness, old oak furniture and faint smoke, cocoa and dried fruits. Baking spices mingle with a very faint sulphur note. Some marmalade or Seville oranges. Coffee? Dates and figs. It’s quite punchy.
The palate is sweet, sherried, spicy, there’s that typical Highland Park smoke note in there but it’s wrapped up in a sherry, cocoa, dark chocolate sauce, oak and over-cooked marmalade cake blanket. There’s a dirtiness to the flavours but not in a bad way. A funky richness (a tiny tinge of sulphur in a nice way, think the far away whiff of matchboxes) and a wee bit of coastal salinity. It’s here that the 46.8% ABV helps really hammer the palate home. It’s a really good delivery of flavours.
The finish is big and ballsy, cocoa, wood, sherry and smoke with a pinch of campfire ash, long and drying but not unpleasant.
Highland Park’s Dark Origins was a hugely divisive bottling when it came out. A relatively expensive whisky without an age statement, slightly over the top packaging and a dubious backstory. I still think the illustration of Magnus Eunson on the tube looks naff, but overall, it’s aged surprisingly well. I feels like more of a bargain now than when it was released. Well worth a punt if you can find it at a reasonable price.
- Exceptionally good whisky! Lovely full taste with the level of smokeyness I love. The first day the finish was quite bitter, but on day 2 that was completely gone! The interaction with the oxygen did the job probably.
- 10 rates 90 - 94. There must be something very wrong with me.
Light smoke and some chocolate but with a completely different sherry influence TMHO. Not as light, pleasant and sweet. There's also that nuttiness in here but it hides away deeper down in musty dungeon. (Dark Origin ?)
I'm not that impressed by the taste either. There are decent NAS whiskies but this is not one of them. Harsh, spicy, unbalanced and too much bitterness. Sorry this is not my cup of tea and a completely personal opinion.
Short and something to forget as quick as possible.
- By Serge
Highland Park ‚Dark Origins‘ (46.8%, OB, +/-2016): 87 Punkte
- An intriguing version of Highland Park spirit. The taste has a wonderful pace, and each flavor profile is well integrated without dominating. It's matured using 80% first fill sherry casks, and the commitment to quality definitely shows.
Cereal notes, floral, bitter cherries, and dry leaves.
Sweet peat, sea spray, vanilla.
Chocolate with peat
Floral chocolate (orange blossom dark chocolate cordials) gives way to peated honey.
- An odd fellow with lots of sweetness and even more bitter notes, not a pleaser, and definitely not your typical HP.
Brine, seawater, roasted chestnuts, ripe bananas, a bit of dried fruits, but not much. Very light smoke, resin, pickled plums, very light leather, toffee, light note of shoe polish. After tasting a sharp sulphuric note (matchbox) shows up.
Alcohol is manageable, but there's a massive dose of white sugar sweetness fighting to mask a huge punch of bitter oak and freshly cut grass. Toffee and barley show up, but the bitter and refined sugar notes dominate. Second chew brings brine and light smoke, salted dried fish, banana peel, caramellized bananas, but oak, grass, and banana peel combined is too much bitterness. Not a pleaser. Smoke is developing but the balance is far from good. Third chew shows sulphur sharpness, not a nice flavour either. Dried salted fish, light sulphur, white sugar, and lots of bitterness from oak, grass, banana peel, and then some light tobacco leaves. A really odd mix.
Quite warm, light black pepper, briny, smoky, and a lot of bitter notes. A bit fishy as well.