Tag Archive: Provenance


Douglas Laing: Provenance Single Cask: Bunnahabhain 10 Year (Scottish Islay Single Malt Single Cask Whisky: 10 year: 46% ABV)

Visual: Clear, slightly greened brackish hue. Very light coloured.

Nose: Thick, salty, slightly viscous oily notes. Brown bread. Fish oils. Light broth. Wet rocks. Greenery. Water makes more salty, smoother, more rock notes.

Body: Honey. Rocks. Salt. Alcohol warmth. Gentle peat. Slight dry medicinal to strong alcohol character. Mature cheese, peppery. Butter fat. Water makes smoother, saltier, drier and less sweet. Vanilla and vanilla toffee. Slight lime.

Finish: Brown bread. Dry. Dry vodka. Gentle peat smoke. Water adds slight lime, vanilla and white chocolate.

Conclusion: Ok, Bunnahabhain is generally an unpeated whisky, I know that. This still tastes lightly smokey, ok? I cant lie on that one! It isn’t a meaty smoke character. But there is still some. Anyway, got that out of the way.

Neat it is a thick, kind of fish skin oils touched, slightly alcohol warm thing with big honey sweetness against a salty, rocky Islay character. The higher alcohol feel makes it a tad drying, which doesn’t quite match the sweeter character but it makes a simple, comparatively gentle Islay flavour set with a nice oily, thick mouthfeel.

Water does a lot of good, removing the harsher alcohol notes and the accompanying dryness, but it also strip out the more interesting flavours. The sweetness becomes more gentle and the odd oily, butter fats and peppery notes are lost.

Water makes it the easy drinking Islay, still showing a light peat smoke (I have no idea how), gentle sweetness and light salt. Easy to drink but most of the fun is lost. Id say the more interesting texture and flavour of the neat whisky makes it worth the slighter harsher notes that come with it. Give it some time to air, to get rid of some of the rough fumes, but drink neat – it makes for a reasonable attempt at a balance.

It isn’t a standout of the Islay world, but it really shows the non chill filtered style with a very nuanced mouthfeel that would otherwise have been lost. The slight mature cheese notes seem to be one of those extra elements and one I find fascinating. Apart from that it is generic light side of Islay flavour, good mouthfeel and some rough notes.

Not bad, not must have, but a decent take on the light end of Islay.

Background: Been digging these hip flask sized Single Cask bottlings for a while, a chance to get to know a whisky reasonably without dedicating the cash to a full bottle. Though I have had so many now I needed to ask for help from the lot at Independent Spirit so I could look up online which ones I have already done notes on. Bunnahabhain is an interesting one, a generally unpeated Islay. Not one I have had a huge range of experience with so this was chance to try and sort that. I’d been watching Kaizo Trap tons recently so put on some Leslie Wai music while drinking. Mainly Paradigm, the track from Kaizo Trap. This was distilled Oct 2007 and bottled Dec 2017.

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Douglas Laing’s Provenance Single Cask: Auchentoshan 11 Year (Scottish Lowland Whisky: 11 Year: 46% ABV)

Visual: Very light and pale, with a slight brackish hue. Very slow streaks come from the spirit.

Nose: Strawberry crème. Viscous alcohol notes. Dark Belgian chocolate. Pine cones and pine needles. Water adds peppermint, more water turns menthol.

Body: Warming. Grapes. Shortbread. Vanilla fudge. Oak. Lightly peppery. Water adds slight sulphur. More water adds creamy notes and lots of grapes. Cinnamon doughnuts.

Finish: Oaken. Pine spray. Menthol. Fudge. Strawberry crème. Water makes more menthol. Mint leaves. More water adds grapes, light cinnamon and Belgian black chocolate.

Conclusion:There are lots of different elements in this – ones I would never expect to see side by side. The most disparate elements never seem to overlap, instead you get each of the distinctly different elements coming out one after each other.

First aroma notes come out like Belgian chocolate and strawberry crème- yet the body after that comes out as tart grapes and light fudge. Then, as that goes out the strawberry crème comes back out in the finish.

On another run it was alcohol strong, piney and heavy on the aroma, going into a peppery body, then somehow out into menthol freshness in the finish. I’d like to claim that it is water, or time that makes this change – but while water does bring changes, it seems like any of the prior elements can return at any point.

So, to try and generalise a whisky that seems to actively resist categorisation – well, generally there are some grapes. Generally there are slight pine to pine cone notes. It is generally smooth but warming and generally there are some sweet notes behind that – be it toffee, chocolate of strawberry.

What is oddest, for all that is odd about this whisky, is that for all the odd notes, this does not actually really stand out as a whisky. It has the odd moments, as described above, but they all clinging around a solid but unexceptional whisky. Very contrary, no? Not bad, hard to sum up which is a value in itself. Not a must have, not one to avoid. Not bad.

Background: Yay, mini hip flasks of whisky- chances to try different experimentations without spending a vast amount on a full size bottle. It is especially nice with lowland ones like this as I can be a bit mixed on how I find stuff from this region. The Provenance lot, whisky taken from a single cask and bottled at just a tad stronger strength than normal, has been pretty solid so far. I grabbed it from Independent Spirit and put on Miracle Of Sound’s Level 8 while drinking – very cool drinking music.

Douglas Laing: Provenance Single Cask: Glengoyne 8 Year( Scottish Highland Single Malt Whisky: 8 Year: 46% ABV)

Visual: Very pale clear spirit with a light brackish hue to it.

Viscosity: Medium speed thin streaks.

Nose: Moss. Moderate alcohol. Citrus – fresh lime. Very fresh. Mojitos. Crushed leaves. Light menthol. Gin. Water adds vanilla pods.

Body: Warming. Smooth feel despite the alcohol. Very viscous. Soft toffee. Water makes creamier. Kiwi, grapes and vanilla. Apples. Jelly. Raisins.

Finish: Light charring. Malt drinks. Lots of oak. Greenery. Alcohol air. Water makes creamier. Brown bread. Fudge. More water adds raisins.

Conclusion: This really shows the energy of its relative youth. While not burning in its alcohol, it is still that very viscous styling of strong alcohol with a very melting jelly like feel to the centre and very familiar alcohol warmth with it.

Flavour wise it is also very youthful – lots of full on green fruit akin to a young spirit. Neat it is fairly raw, but water soothes that, turning it into a sweeter, creamier version of itself; In this form it seems to call slightly to Speyside character rather than its Highland home However underneath that is the more familiar sweet highland in a fudge and malt drink styled base. It is more gentle that normal, more a backing note than its more mature cousins.

In oddities that it has, there is a slight crushed leaves amongst the citrus notes – which makes if feel slightly mojitos like in its expression top and tail. Which is unexpected. A cocktail experience in a single malt.

It is a raw green fruit thing neat, becoming more recognisably highland sweet the more water you add. While I would say it is too simple neat, water gives an impressive depth for its youth with raisins and dark fruit coming out as a balance to the brighter green fruit. It is a very different experience from neat to water laden, going from super fresh to subtly dried fruit.

Not excellent, but has a decent range with water so I can’t complain.

Background: Hip flask sized bottles of whisky, one of my favourite ways of trying a wider range of whisky without having to spend a fortune on full sized bottles. This one, grabbed from Independent Spirit, is a Glengoyne bottling – done without colouring or chill filtering. I’ve actually been to the Glengoyne distillery, back when I did a tour of distilleries in Scotland – very pretty and tucked away near a waterfall. This was drunk while listening to Anthrax – Amongst The Living – no particular reason, just good tunes.

Provenance Craigellachie Single Cask 10 Year

Provenance: Craigellachie Single Cask: 10 Year (Scotland Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 10 Year: 46% ABV)

Visual: Very pale, almost make spirit colour.

Viscosity: Many very thin, slow streaks.

Nose: Crushed peppermints. Vanilla. Make spirit. Gritty. Water makes more floral.

Body: Chocolate limes. Warming to burning. Vanilla toffee. Broth. Water adds some peat and beef slices along with honey and lime. More water brings out big toffee, honey. Smoother, with vanilla custard and apples.

Finish: Alcohol air. Chocolate limes. Wood. Dusty. Water brings out beef broth and dumplings. Lime and chocolate separate now. Sweeter with more water, light milky coffee.

Conclusion: Craigellachie can be an awesome wee dram – a fact I was reminded of by the recent Wemyss Barrista’s Dram which I tried at a recent whisky tasting. I was having a chilled night so didn’t do notes of that one – instead I later grabbed this hip flask sized bottle to try a different and younger expression.

Well, this is very definitely younger -almost make spirit in colour. Neat it has more of a feel than a taste for the most part; In fact it us a quite simple dram, though thankfully without that vodka jelly feel that some strong, young, spirits have. Anyway, not much to write home about. However at 46% abv there is plenty of room for water, so let’s see how that goes.

It helps. Brings out a light peat and the associated broth kind of notes, but the main help is that it really smooths out the sweetness that is the mainstay of the whisky. Vanilla custard sweetness and honey being the most noticeable it brings to the fore.

It is far smoother and more enjoyable here. Oddly at ten years it still plays with the fresh apple notes that I would associate with a far younger spirit. It, however, gains a more noticeable, kind of malt chocolate, traditional whisky character. Albeit less noticeable than in most whisky.

So, in the end we have a very fresh and vibrant whisky, with hints at rather than shows the full range of Craigellachie’s depths. It is nice enough with water, however it feels younger than it is and I know Craigellachie can do more.

So, ok, but not the best show of what the distillery can do.

Background: Think this is the first time I’ve done notes for a Craigellachie – it is a fine whisky, so I decided to grab this independent bottling from Independent Spirit. Nice hip flask size, always a favourite for sampling new whisky. On eye it looks a heck of a lot lighter than most Craigellachie whisky I have seen. Should be an interesting dram. Dunk while listening to the Paranoia Agent OST – that anime is mind blowing.

Dailuaine Provenance Single Cask

Provenance: Dailuaine: 10 Year: Single Cask (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 10 Years: 46% ABV)

Visual: Grain to gold.

Viscosity: Fast thick streaks.

Nose: Jelly babies. Spice. Pencil shavings. Water opens to crushed meringue, paprika and cinnamon. Some oak.

Body: Trifle. Raspberry. Spicy warmth. Brandy cream. Oak. Vanilla. Water lightens and adds coriander.

Finish: Malt chocolate. Oak. Brandy cream. Water gives a warming air and slight vodka feel. Coriander.

Conclusion: A while back I was discussing Amrut in Brewdog Bristol, and the resident whisky expert on the staff mentioned that he liked it as it had an almost Indian spice character which was unique to it rather than just copying scotch style. Now, I never really got that so much, but I bring it up as, well, it looks like Scotland has done that as well now.

This, not so well known distillery, is an odd mix. There is quite thick, cheap vodka, feel initially, but soon after it vanishes if you let it air. Then you get the meat of it, with brandy cream, raspberry trifle sweetness, mixing with Indian spice warmth.

Now, I know what you are thinking. Sounds shit right? You wouldn’t pour coriander on a trifle (Seriously don’t do that, it’s awful. Someone did that to me as a prank once). The odd thing is, I am really liking this. It has sweetness, warmth, and grounding oak. They compliment each other remarkably well. I can see why this isn’t a better known distillery if this is typical for the distillery, it is very unusual, but I would say it deserves recognition. It is dry and spicy for much of the time, then you get dessert treats rewarding you for your patience.

It does weaken with water, well mostly, the aroma does get far better and loses the harsher edges, but that is a contrast to the body which loses a lot of the complexity, becoming a more simple, if still unusual, spicy whisky.

So, based on this experience, this is a distillery well worth seeking out for something off the beaten track, and I will be keeping my eyes open for further expressions.

Background: Hip flask sized whisky! Again I found a 20cl bottle of a distillery I had not tried before at “The Tasting Rooms“, and after the success of the last one I was happy to grab this one to try again. This was distilled 2003, and drunk while listening to quite insane Pon Pon Pon meets metal. Before anyone judges me, Pon Pon Pon ties back to a memory of holiday in Japan, and metal makes everything better.

Provenance Glen Spey 2012

Provenance: Glen Spey: Single Cask 2012 (Scottish Single Cask Malt Whisky: 11 Years: 46% ABV)

Visual: Brackish water.

Viscosity: Mix of fast and middling streaks.

Nose: Strong cheap vodka spirit. Fiery. Raw make spirit. Pear drops. Green apples.

Body: Surprisingly smooth. Vanilla toffee and apples. Fire rises. Zest orange, quite sweet into orange crème. Smoothes over time. Water smoothes the fire massively but flavours diminish. More apples come out though.

Finish: Malt chocolate. Pears. Vanilla. Orange sorbet. Shredded wheat. Lime sorbet. Cheap vodka. Water makes less distinctive, adds digestives.

Conclusion: I’ve said it a lot really but…huh. It is a good word/utterance. You could hold an entire conversation with it if you add enough body language to aid.

The first sniff of this was pretty much rocket fuel. It felt half way between cheap vodka and raw make spirit. Now, I will admit I hadn’t given it long to air before drinking, but it was still far rougher than usual. So, I waited, and then took the first feared sip and…

Pretty darn smooth. There is a thick feel like cheap vodka spirit in the middle but the fire is way down. Subtle green fruit and vanilla notes against a lovely sharp orange. So, confused, I held the glass to the light. It still looked the same, brackish greened water, so light that it could be mistaken for very young spirit. Yet here it was, the flavours were similar to younger spirit, but far smoother than the aroma warned. There was that thicker texture, like cheap vodka, and the fire never completely dies down but still much more impressive than expected.

So onto the next step, adding water. It kills the fire, but the flavours become more indistinct with it, making for a whisky that tastes like a mix of biscuits and lime. Not unpleasant actually, not as harsh, but I did prefer the sharp fresh notes you got neat, for all the issues. So a bit of a trade off then. There’s also quite a bit of apples with water, like calvados aged whisky against malted drinks. Again interesting, but not as fresh as when taken neat.

So, a very interesting experiment, very fresh and raw. Even with water you do get good flavour, all green fruit and limes (which yes, I know is a green fruit, but I felt was worth pointing out separately for its prominence), if muted. If you ignore the aroma it is even nicely smooth. With the aroma it is a bit rough, and far from the compete package for a whisky. I would compare it as a rougher Hakushu 12, and it feels younger than its 11 years, but it does have charm in its exhuberance.

I cannot recommend this over the Hakushu, which does everything better, but it is a lively one to visit, for all its raw spirit like issues.

Background: 20cl bottles, a nice compromise between the risk of buying blind 70cl of spirit, and the one off visit of a 5cl mini. This independent bottling was found at The Tasting Rooms in Bath. I’ve never tried Glen Spey, nor any bottling from Provenance before, so it seemed a god time to give them a shot. Looking online, this seems to be one of their seasonal set of releases, this being a spring release. This is single cask and unchillfiltered. Broke out a bit of Nine Inch Nails as a backdrop to this tasting.

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