In A Nutshell:
Tastes amazing but the finish is too short. Would recommend to new whisky drinkers with just a few drops of water added as the burn is subtle and quick to pass.
So, we begin our first whisky review with much beloved Orkney based Distillery, Highland Park – and their latest expression – ‘Dark Origins’.
Dark Origins harks back to Highland Park’s own ‘dark origins’ – I believe the hooded chap on the front of the bottle is Magnus ‘Mansie’ Eunson – Highland Park’s founder. He was, amongst other things, a smuggler of whisky – not a monk, scally or that stabby guy from Assassin’s Creed.
And no, there’s no age statement on this one but it definitely tastes (and weighs in pricewise) like a nicely aged teenage whisky. ABV clocks in at 46.8% so it’s got a bit more of a ‘kick’ than the regular, though tastewise, this is well disguised in the overall well designed balance of flavours.
Asides from the occult branding, the angle is that it uses double the amount of first fill sherry casks.
This means that the Dark Origins is the first whisky that goes into these casks after they’ve stopped being used for sherry. Such ‘virgin’ casks are rarer and impart more flavour, thus adding an element of exclusivity (and more pronounced taste) to this whisky.
Ergo: Using double the amount to normal should mean improved taste in the same amount of time spent aging. Should.
But what does it actually taste like?
We drink it, stuff happens
So yeah, we’ll give you some subjective opinions of what it actually tastes like, served neat…
Nose: Sweet – chocolate and butterscotch, perhaps? Despite the level of alcohol, it’s not like you nose it and sear your face off…
Palate: Peaty, but moderately so, and tempered by a certain sweetness – with a touch caramel of maybe a subtle bit of dark chocolate. Drier than other Highland Park offerings, as far as I know. Warming, even by whisky standards – dare I say hot? I really enjoy it.
Finish: Like a cooling, peaty afterthought. Very short. Tragically short. For me, this is a bit of a shame because it’s such a fantastic taste that almost evaporates before you have time to fully savour it. I suppose the upside is that it’s a very short burn – which might be good for whisky newbies or people who don’t like the uh…warming affects of whisky.
So yes, not too peaty, with a caramel taste – overall very delicious. We’d definitely give this one more marks if the finish were longer lasting, because it’s almost like it’s teasing you with such a brief and delightful experience.
That said you could just swilling it for ages and discipline yourself not to swallow the all the delicious whisky that’s singing your tongue. :3