19 March 2019

Highland Park Dark Origins

Look at this people, it’s the the hero everyone deserves. But do we need it? Let’s start with the fact that this is my favourite Highland Park to date, and the only one I bought more than one bottle of. Although it has been discontinued a while ago, it’s still pretty easily obtainable around here for a very reasonable price (± €65).

What makes this HP so delightful? As a lover of sherry casks and tobacco notes, I think this one ticked all the boxes for me at the time. Although I’ve spoiled myself with delicious (mostly independent) sherried single casks from various distilleries, where tobacco and sherry is overly present, I’m still enjoying this every time I return to it. The Dark Origins was created to honour the early days, and they used 80% first-fill and 20% refill sherry casks for that. It was bottled at 46.8% ABV. Let’s have a look at my tasting notes:

Tasting notes


Fresh and clear at first, with orchard fruits and red fruits. There’s a whiff of smoke and seaweed with a hint of salmon. And here comes a note right from our twisted minds: ladybugs. You know, when a ladybug ‘poops’ on your hand? No?


Minerally and sweet, a cough syrup (in a good way, like Ben Nevis 10), red fruits, strawberry, tobacco, smoked wood, puffed rice.


Apple, banana, tobacco, red fruits, burnt matches, chocolate cake, paint, salmon on the BBQ, oatmeal and raisins.

The love for the HP classics (12yo and 18yo) have faded over time, because my palate prefers more of a punch lately, but this Dark Origins still manages to steal my heart. Quite impressive, since I don’t often return to my ‘classic’ line-ups. I just keep looking for new stuff. But until I find a better HP at this price point (which gets increasingly harder, I know), I will stick with this dark knight.