Highland Park Dark Origins Scotch Loves Those First Fill Sherry Casks

By Nino Kilgore-Marchetti / September 17, 2014

hp-darkoriginsThe Highland Park distillery, located in the Scottish island city of Kirkwall, is Scotland’s most northerly whisky distillery. Themes of its whisky often draw from the Viking heritage of the area, such as the amazing limited Freya release earlier this year. We return now to this northernmost outpost of Scotch to learn about Dark Origins, a new sherried core edition to its line up set for an American debut October 1.

Dark Origins, which first emerged from the distillery in early July, makes use of twice as many first fill sherry casks for maturing the whisky as compared to Highland Park’s popular 12-year-old expression. This newer non-age statement release, given the emphasis on the first fill sherry casks in this regard as compared to more traditional use of a higher number of refill sherry casks for aging, is noted as a result in having “a naturally darker, richer flavour with sherried spice, a chocolate twist and the signature sweet smoke fans of the Orcadian elixir have come to know and love.”

Pricing around $80 tasting notes for this rich mahogany colored spirit, which is non-chill filtered and bottled at 46.8% ABV, are below from Highland Park. As for the history of the name Dark Origins, the way the distillery describes it, when its founder was

establishing a secret bunker in the hills of High Park in Orkney, Magnus ‘Mansie’ Eunson became a famed dark distiller back in the late 1700s, creating whisky for the people of Orkney to offer relief from the villainy of the tax collector. By day he worked tirelessly in his church providing spiritual guidance to the people of Orkney, but in the dead of night, he hand crafted what was to ultimately become the best spirit in the world, warming hearts and uniting all who tasted it. 

Nose: Sherried spice and ripe bananas combine with toasted hazelnuts and baked apple

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Palate: Well-balanced, dry peat at first mellowing out to maraschino cherries, warm dark chocolate entices the palate

Finish: Enduring sweet smoke


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