Monday, September 15, 2014
Darker Still? Highland Park Dark Origins
In the world of Scotch, the first decade of the twenty-first century was all about peat. Everyone from Speyside to the Lowlands was dumping peat into everything they could while traditionally peated whiskeys competed for the title of highest ppm.
But the century's second decade has seemed much more focused on sherry. Everyone seems to be putting out big rich sherry cask whiskeys. Jim Beam even skipped the middleman and dumped sherry directly into their last Distiller's Masterpiece release.
Now comes Highland Park with Dark Origins, a no age statement whiskey composed of a higher proportion of first fill sherry cask aged malt. It comes in an opaque black bottle reminiscent of some of Bruichladdich's bottlings.
Highland Park Dark Origins, 46.8% ($85)
The nose is heavy on the sulfur with sherry notes underneath. There's some fruit under there but it's hard to get at with all of the big sulfur notes. The palate is pretty similar to the nose with a big blast of sulfur up front followed by some much lighter, sweeter fruit notes (mostly grape). It tastes strong for its abv. The finish has a bit of sweetness, especially on the nose but a lot of sulfur on the palate, and after a few seconds, it develops a strong bitterness.
Highland Park usually keeps the sulfur in check in their distillery bottlings, but I've definitely had some independent HPs that were over the top with sulfur notes. This one goes more in that direction. I imagine there will be some folks who will really love this. I tend to be very sensitive to sulfur notes, so, while it's certainly drinkable, it's not something I would reach for very often.