Review: Highland Park Dark Origins (vs 12yo)

HPDOBottleHighland Park Dark Origins 46.8 %

Notes: This latest addition to the core expressions uses twice as many first fill sherry casks than in the classic Highland Park 12 year old resulting in a naturally darker, richer flavour. Dark Origins is a combination of 80% first fill sherry casks (of which 60% is European oak and 20% American) and 20% refill sherry.

Colour: Rich early autumn gold.

Nose: If you’re used to the 12yo’s nose then this is kind of similar, yet it’s on steroids… It’s fuller, thicker and has noticeably more sherry influence. If you’re not familiar then there’s a malty heathery goodness here, slight highland peat smoke hints and a fruit and nut backdrop from the sherry casks.

Palate: Although it’s fairly smooth it introduces itself to your palate with a slight tingle and a pinch of spice, before covering it with fairly thick velvety oils which lead to a rich malty sweetness.

Finish: Warming on your chest with a lingering sweet spicy gentle smokiness.

Water: None particularly needed, but if you do it releases a bit more malt and coal tar cask smoke. It sweetens it up a touch more lowering the spices a bit and makes the finish slightly less tannin-lead. I quite like it with a wee drop of H2O.

Thoughts: There’s no age statement here, but that aside it’s a worthy step up from the 12yo, although is it worth around twice the price? I’m not totally convinced on that, but it is very good, and to have the extra %ABV, no chill filtering and sherry goodness it certainly becomes worth much of the extra.

Available: The Green Welly Stop – £57 (cheapest I could find at the time of review).

 

Highland Park 12 Year Old (40%) vs. Dark Origins (46.8%)

The 12yo is lighter in colour, an early summers day vs. a rich early autumn evening. The 12yo is quite malty and a little nutty on the nose, the Origins is slightly more caramelly and sweet from the sherry which has dialled the malt back a small notch. The 12yo is very easy on the palate, partly due to the 40% abv. It’s sweet and easy; lightly oily and has a reasonable finish. Origins is quite a bit thicker feeling and sweeter but with a fair pinch of spice and with a longer finish, and a tiny bit more tannin at the end (smoothed out with water however).

For my review of the 12 year old, please go here.

Thanks to Highland Park for the sample.

hpdosamp

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2 Responses to Review: Highland Park Dark Origins (vs 12yo)

  1. any chance you could post a picture of the whisky in the glass? i have a feeling that if I bought a bottle of “dark origins” and it came in a black bottle but the color was “gold” then I’d be disappointed…

    • stevep says:

      Good request! Unfortunately I’ve drunk all my sample now so I can’t. 🙁
      Depending on what colour you’d be expecting I think you may be disappointed, it’s certainly not the really really dark you can get with say a GlenDronach or BenRiach PX single cask.

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