I might have mentioned 1 or 2 times (or a 100…I lose track) that I’m a fan of Outlander, the STARZ TV show and the book series by Diana Gabaldon. And by that, I mean I’m an I’ve-gone-off-the-deep-end-and-am-now-treading-the-water-there sort of fan. I discussed my obsession and how it relates to this blog in Why do this?, but I bring it up again because (1) I’m loving Season 3 of the show which is currently playing, and (2) I recently learned about a scotch directly related to Outlander.
How, you ask? (do tell…)
When I attended the New Hampshire Highland Games and Festival in September, I met up with other rabid fans in front of the Clan Fraser tent, next to the life-size standup image of Jamie Fraser in full Highland regalia (for the uninitiated, Jamie Fraser, played in the show so well by Sam Heughan, is the male protagonist). After the group broke up, I started speaking with Charles Frasier, one of the people manning the tent. He told me about Clan Fraser whisky, and I knew right away that I had to see if I could get a sample to review for this blog. I went to their website and started a very nice correspondence with Tony Roberts, Commercial Director for the brand. He couldn’t send me a sample directly (the US has strict liquor importation laws), but by coincidence I had a friend traveling in Scotland just then. Tony arranged to have a sample, nay, a bottle, shipped to her hotel (on a Saturday, no less), and she brought it home for me. And boy, was it worth it!
Longtime readers will know that I really only drink single-malt scotch (mainly because that’s what is generally being offered at the tastings I attend). I’ve tried some commercial blended whisky but usually come away unimpressed, so why bother? When I went to the website I hesitated at first upon learning it was a blend, but then I read the description:
Clan Fraser Blended Scotch Whisky is a unique blend … of finest grain and malt whiskies inspired by the ingenuity, determination and pioneering spirit of the Fraser Clan. Honey and buttery on the nose with hints of cinnamon and vanilla. There are notes of raisins and figs and the finish is, rounded, ever so slightly sweet and deliciously smooth.
This is an exquisite whisky reflecting the Spirit of the Borders and invoking a sense of warmth and belonging in the hearts of all those who enjoy it.
To make our blend we first selected a number of whiskies, all of them aged in charred oak casks, from the Heart of Scotland. These whiskies were then blended to different recipes until we succeeded in producing a balanced and consistent Scotch whisky. The blend was then allowed to rest for some time (a process known as ‘marrying’) before being bottled in Scotland. We have created a smooth aromatic blend that offers great value for our customers.
Well, this sounds delicious, no? I was so excited to try it, and I waited for the perfect moment…watching a new episode of Outlander, of course!
Clan Fraser whisky, 40% ABV
- Nose: Honey, flowers, light brown sugar, wood, peaches
- Taste: Some initial spicy burn, light char ash smoke, caramels, peaches; the smoke/ash becomes less noticeable as the oak wood influences take over
- Finish: Ends with cinnamon, white chocolate lingers, a pleasant heat at the back of the throat
- Comments: Very nice! Easy to sip, not cloying or heavy handed…well balanced; doesn’t need water.
When I paired this scotch with a homemade apple cider jam tart (see In a Jam for more details), the char notes reappeared! I love how food can bring out different flavors in the sip.
I heartily recommend you try Clan Fraser whisky (if you can get your hands on a bottle, that is)…it’s well worth the effort. As for me, I’m hoping to share it with fellow Outlander fans at a viewing party for a big episode that’s coming up (if you know what “Print Shop” means, you’ll know to what I’m referring!). Have you ever come across a new whisky by being a fan of something unrelated? Tell me your story in the comments below. And do check out Outlander if you’re so inclined…it’s got all the feels!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!