Whisky Review & Tasting Notes – Highland Park Dark Origins

So what happens when a distillery releases another pricey NAS whisky? One that you could imagine as competition and maybe future replacement? For most distilleries or bottlers, we’ll explode with rage and angry words but in the case of Highland Park distillery it was met with curiosity and very little anger. We shouldn’t forget that HP aren’t strangers to expensive and pricey NAS whiskies, as evident from their high-end Warriors whiskies so maybe this is why Dark Origins wasn’t receiving such a harsh treatment as others did?

Or maybe because Dark Origins fills another niche in their core portfolio, allowing them to sell (and earn) more?

Interesting enough, the Press release says:

It uses twice as many first fill sherry casks than in the classic Highland Park 12 year old resulting in a

naturally darker, richer flavour with sherried spice, a chocolate twist and the signature sweet smoke fans of the Orcadian elixir have come to know and love.


So double amount of first fill sherry casks and double the price. does it worth it?

Highland Park Dark Origins (46.8%, £61.34)

dark originsNose: A no-doubt HP profile but with a twist. Wet dumpy peat with sherry behind. smelled lots of nutmeg, sweet cinnamon coated in sugar flakes, malt & cereals (impact of young casks?) and everything has that wet feeling with the hint it’s barely held in check (waiting to burst out).

Palate: Oh, it’s peaty. While the nose had a big promise of sweet, here it’s less sweet but still flavorful with nutmeg, cinnamon, berries (mostly cranberries) and then espresso and cacao.

Finish: short-medium finish with dark chocolate, peat, spice at back of throat,

Thoughts: Not bad at all! it’s peated, darker and richer than Highland Park 12. Price is indeed an issue but the liquid itself is good. At first I thought to myself that I wouldn’t buy one for the ongoing price (as the VFM factor is bad) and it should drop a lot in order for me to get a bottle. But the more I think of it, a mere drop of 10 GBP/15 Euro and I may buy one. It’s one that you understand how good is it only after the tasting and the impressions its leave (at least in my case).

(Official sample from Highland Park Distillery)


4 thoughts on “Whisky Review & Tasting Notes – Highland Park Dark Origins

  1. ukwins

    I agree – the £50 mark may have been more realistic…
    I do like the Sherry characteristics on this one with the nice and spicy finish

  2. kallaskander

    Hi there,

    I have a gut feeling that this is a variant of the 15yo which has disapeared not so long ago.

    The 15yo situated between the 12 and 18yo was dispensible and if you can bring it back in combination with younger malts at the same price…. at about the same quality it seems…


    1. Yoav @ Whisky Gospel Post author

      The 15yo is still available on HP site and in the USA, but you are right that in most places in Europe it’s a goner.

      Also, the price different is steep. 38 for the 15yo and 65 for the Dark Origins.



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