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Mormon whiskey returns to Utah

Published February 21, 2012 1:45 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Whiskey with a bit of Mormon history has returned to Utah.

On Saturday, the High West Distillery in Park City introduced its new Valley Tan, an aged whiskey made from Utah oats and named in honor of the spirit made by the Mormon pioneers.

Mark Twain talked about Valley Tan in his 1872 work, "Roughing It."

"Valley Tan is a kind of whisky, or first cousin to it; is of Mormon invention and manufactured only in Utah," he wrote.

The term 'valley tan' originally meant the leather made by the Mormon Pioneers and eventually applied to anything homemade and not imported from other states.

"We thought it was a fitting name for our first aged whiskey," said High West owner David Perkins, who used locally grown oats and aged the spirt for 18 months before releasing it Saturday, Dec. 3, as part of a repeal day celebration.

The label of the new spirit features Porter Rockwell, an early Valley Tan drinker, who shared a 'squar' drink of Valley Tan with the famous British explorer Captain Richard F. Burton.

High West also recommends drinking its Valley Tan 'squar', meaning neat or without water.

Only limited amounts of Valley Tan are available at the Distillery, 703 Park Ave., in Park City. A 750 ml bottle costs $49.99