Highland Park Dark Origins

Dark Origins, Solid Origins

Reviewed by
Connosr member:



22nd Oct 2015

Reviewer rating:


About this score:

  • Nose: 22
  • Taste: 22
  • Finish: 21
  • Balance: 21

Tasting Notes by Pandemonium

Like an omen foretelling the death of your favourite entry level drams, or a new stellar mark-up: NAS, the acronym that sends shivers down the spine of most whisky enthusiasts. Seemingly whenever a NAS is announced, distillers are about to retire (or at least reduce the availability significantly) a classic, or cash in on our eagerness to pay good money for a fancy bottle by releasing a gimmicky bottle. The result is often an inferior or at least overpriced whisky young and relying mostly on a strong cask finish. So when Highland Park announced Dark Origins accompanied with its own special video advertisement and a stylish black bottle complete with a hooded figure, most of us were rightfully sceptical. Looking back we were proven wrong: they kept their original range and the price stayed at an acceptable level (between the 12yo and 15yo). So what about our second prejudice? Is the dark origins a flavour-driven NAS or just a gimmick, let’s find out…

Description: no age statement, matured in twice as many 1st fill sherry casks as the regular 12yo, bottled at 46.8% ABV, mahogany in colour.

Nose: a rounded sherry nose with a full assembly of appetizing fragrances: dark damp earth, heather, honey and roasted chestnuts. Want more? It has some chocolate notes, lush camphor, a soft touch of orange, while an odd note of potatoes (Glenesk anyone?) is lurking in the background.

Mouth: medium dry body, a palate born in wood smoke and liquorice, with notes of raisins, rough grind dark pepper and cinnamon.

Finish: a medium finish with tones of ham and camphor, the iodine gives it a nice salty edge.

Verdict: To answer my own question: definitely a flavour-driven dram. While expecting an easy sherry bomb, the nature of this beast is something entirely different. While this dram presumable has a young body, inside still beats the heart of an old man, resulting in multiple layers worth exploring. Given the acceptable price, definitely one worth buying.


Whisky details


Highland Park


Dark Origins




Old Gold


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