I do like Highland Park, though I never get around to trying enough of their whiskies. I think their core aged range is pretty reliable, and generally a safe bet when you’re out and about. Highland Park have now added another no-age statement bottle to their range. It’s called the Highland Park Dark Origins, and has been crafted to celebrate the “cunning and courage” of a chap known as Magnus Eunson.
Magnus was the original founder of Highland Park at the end of the 18th Century. He was a butcher, a smuggler, and general scoundrel. Whether this is myth or advertising, who can tell, but he must have been a persistent chap and good businessman to make it all the way to the Orkney Islands to set-up shop. I think it’s safe to say his gamble paid off.
And so this new single malt whisky from Highland Park is designed to celebrate all that’s dark and heroic about Magnus’ escapades. The bottle is rather striking – Highland Park are in my opinion one of the better designers of both bottles and labels, which I’m sure has done their brand no end of good.
But as for the contents? The whisky inside is a combination of 80% first fill sherry casks and 20% refill sherry, and is bottled at 46.8% ABV.
Colour: deep copper to burnished gold. On the nose: a lovely blast of sweet crème brûlée. Orange zest, with a dollop of golden syrup. Nutty cereal notes and to come into play, and things get a little husky, but… not a huge amount else. Pleasant though.
In the mouth: coal fires stoked gently at the end of the night. Gentle dried fruits of sultanas, prunes. Fades to a cereal almost yeasty tone. It’s quite dry, leading into bitter redcurrants flavours. A little too oaky, but then some strong dark chocolate perks things back up again. The finish is long and peppery, and deceives you into thinking the rest of the dram was better than it was.
These flavours never mashed well for me. Ultimately I found Highland Park Dark Origins to be disappointing. You can pick a bottle up for £65, but personally I wouldn’t bother.