Get them while you can
There are many scotch expressions that we can’t get here in the US (at least, not easily). When I hear of family or friends traveling to the UK, I’ll ask them if they can find a specific whisky for me. Case in point, I’ve been trying to get another bottle of Clan Fraser Whisky since I finished it off late last year. I’m hoping that bringing back scotch isn’t too big of an ask if someone doesn’t have to go out of their way (and maybe if I promise to bake them brownies).
Last June my niece graduated from High School, so my sister took her on a tour of England and Ireland as a gift and I asked if she could bring me back a bottle or two of Clan Fraser Whisky. When my sister couldn’t find it, a shop owner suggested Douglas Laing’s Provenance Ledaig (which is now out of stock) as a substitute. She was able to track down another request I had made…Highland Park’s Voyage of the Raven (something I had heard about on a podcast). Score!
I hadn’t heard of Provenance Ledaig before this, but a quick perusal of their website yielded…
Douglas Laing’s Provenance collection is a particularly unique series of individually hand-selected Single Cask and Small Batch bottlings featuring many of Scotland’s legendary distilleries and a range of different ages. Each is bottled exactly the way the distiller intended: Without colouring, or chill-filtration. This expression, from the Ledaig Distillery, has spent 9 years maturing in a Refill Hogshead.
Neat, huh! Meanwhile, Highland Park emphasizes their Viking heritage for their brand (see Of Vikings and Volume for more on that subject), and Voyage of the Raven celebrates that heritage with this limited edition travel-retail offering:
Created exclusively for the duty-free market…a rich, dark and spicy single malt whisky, inspired by our Viking ancestors’ thirst for exploration.… intelligent and resourceful, ravens were the trusted guides of those those early voyagers as they left Northern shores in search of new horizons, flying far out across the sea until they found land. Highly prized for their navigation skills, ravens became symbols of good fortune on many a longship sail.
Well, those longtime readers how I value history and lore (yeah, you’ve mentioned that once or twice before), so it’s not hard to understand how this expression captured my imagination.
On to the scotch!
Highland Park and Douglas Laing tasting
At Home, October 11, 2018
Provenance Ledaig 9yr
46%ABV, Out of stock
- Nose: marine smoke, honey, light vanilla, mossy
- Taste: smoke, pepper rises, eucalyptus, little honey behind
- Finish: fades to menthol, ash, lingers long and fades to sweet
- Comments: beach campfire smoke that tastes good; w/ water: peppermint nose, musty, water tamed the pepper so the ash & mint dominates
Voyage of the Raven
41.3%ABV, Only available in travel retail
- Nose: plums, raisins, cherries, clover honey, salted caramel, hint of cinnamon
- Taste: med body, wood smoke, caramel sauce, black cherries, cinnamon & cloves
- Finish: fades to cinnamon, hint of ocean air, beach smoke lingers
- Comments: well balanced between sweetness and smoke, softly beachy, nice fruit flavors
I wrote in It’s a gift how my daughter and her new husband brought me back a bottle of Spirit of York Rye Whisky from Canada when she went on her honeymoon. Now, another friend is heading to Scotland soon, and this time we’ve arranged for a delivery of Clan Fraser Whisky to where she’ll be staying (why didn’t I think of that before?). It seems that bringing back scotch isn’t too big of an ask after all!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!