Trees are like people, they have different characters, shapes, voices, and behaviours. Trees like hanging out in certain groups, there are types of trees whom they are friends with. Some trees are sociable, some trees – mostly female trees – are pioneers!

Trees are also like WHISKY – with strengths, flavours, atmospheres, tastes, smells, touches, and atributes. 

I few years ago I decided to pair SCOTCH & TREES and make a Tree Tasting.

This is ROWAN & LORE from Laphroaig.

Rowan is known as

Tree of the Witch. Very much associated with magical and spiritual protection. Rowan is known for spiritual medicine. 

Naturally, Rowan is found in inaccessible places. She is an outlaw and hardy!

Many animals, large and small, find Rowan’s young shoots very palatable. Deer, sheep, cattle, rabbit, hare and many others love Rowan’s bark and stems.

Rowan is friends with Ash and likes the Oak/Birch communities.

Rowan’s berries were believed to intoxicate birds.

Two types of Rowan – are found on the  Isle of Arran.

Rowan flowers in May – June time with creamy white verdant smelling flowers. Beloved by insects and bees.

August – September we find RED BERRIES.

The Thrush is associated with Rowan – and are a very good dispenser of her seeds.

Along with Birch, Rowan is a pioneer. Rowan is female associated.

Rowan has a small stature physically. Her wood traditionally made Barrel Hoops and Archers Bows.

Also, domestic implements – prized for use in the home due to the magical protection element – so good as cooking implements.

Planted because she is BEAUTIFUL.

We make sweets from the berries – sugar coated. We also make Rowan jelly which goes so well with scones, and venison. Also, the berries are fermented to produce Rowan berry wine. Rich in vitamin C.

Rowan is regarded very much as a sacred species.  Berries are said to come from Danu, the Goddess of the Tuatha Dae Dannan.

Rowan was planted at garden gates as protection for the home. She is the sacred tree of the Goddess Bride.

Rowan was/is used to make divining rods. Also hung above stables and byres as protection for the animals to keep them well and healthy and strong.

Moving or cutting down Rowan trees is regarded as sinful and against the natural law of the land, the law of the Goddess.

Rowan – Nurturing, Protection, Medicine.

PAIRED with 

LAPHROAIG LORE – as Laphroaig was regarded as “medicine” during the time of prohibition in America it was still allowed to be drunk! 

Laphroaig LORE is an old style whisky for the modern times – new medicine for modern age! 

Tasting Notes:

Ex bourbon casks, 1st fill sherry butts, Quarter casks & “some of our most precious stock” Ages from 7 – 21 YO.
This NAS (None Age Statemement) from Laphroaig is posited at the top end of their core range.

48% ABV

45/50 PPM

Golden – pale hints of amber. You can hear the whisky ‘chinking’ in the glass when you swirl it.
Vinegar on fish & chips
Verdant, green moss. Raspberries.
Doughy – reminds me of uncooked shortbread being rolled out.
Light, floaty. ROUNDED.
Now, cooked shortbread fingers.
Warm & Stuffy. Makes me think of little legs in wellies… red wellies. Colourful knitted leg warmers from the 80’s!
Rubbery hints underneath.
Got to seek out the middle.

Oranges, plums, muscatel wines. Sooty and warm. Chalk, blancmange. Honey, warm toast.

Black Pepper. Raspberries. Fresh green strawberry leaves. Warm dough. Broken pale blue egg shells.  Rhubarb. Rhubarb jam. Minty.

Butterscotch – Werther’s original sweets. Dark chocolate. Aroma of old damp feather pillows. Putty, pakchoi, bubblegum.

Cognac. Spearmint. Fresh fennel. Black cherries. 
Chalky stone.
Tingly, peppery sweetness. Open space in the heart of the dram, it’s hard to find (all style and no substance….?!)
I think of frills and blue lace at the side of the construct.

And, sweetheart bracelets and necklaces made of pastel sweets we wore to nibble on at school.

Then, something made me think of a balloon when it pulls your hair out from your head with the static!
Now, lightening gives nitrogen to the earth ~ which gives amonia in barley… so did I smell the TCP of Laphroaig in a different way to usual and translate it as this image..??

Next, there is a grown up deeper layer underneath. So salty, but a lovely sweet mouthfeel.


Salty at the back of the mouth and sweet at the front.


Great with homemade shortbread. Raspberries.

Could have it with a very well made Cranachan Pudding. Good with oily full bodied fish like mackerel.  Could have with mackerel pate on oatcakes. And raspberries on the side.


Scotch & Tree Tasting. 

Slainte Mhath!