It shouldn’t be any surprise that a Society whisky can pair beautifully with seafood, cheese or chocolate. But how about with a foie gras crème brûlée and rhubarb compote? I remember that as a particularly weird dish I had on a trip to Gothenburg in Sweden, but which paired beautifully with a young Speyside bourbon-matured dram from our Spicy & Sweet flavour profile. There’s a whisky for every dish, it seems.
In this Outturn we’re looking at intriguing pairings of whisky and food, inspired by our friends in Denmark and their passion for the open-faced sandwiches known as smørrebrød that are ubiquitous across Scandinavia.
I’d like to take inspiration from some of the bottle names and Tasting Notes in our new Outturn to discover some suitable pairings, whether they’re for Scandinavian dishes or anything you prefer from closer to wherever you call home.
Cask No. 63.62: Balsamic moleskin, for example, is a big sherried beast with a high strength of 65.9% abv from a second fill American oak oloroso butt. At seven-years old, it’ll take a lot of water but would also stand up equally well in pairings both with robust and spicy dishes as well as a simple plate of bruschetta with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
We have a trio of interesting forms of maturation in Cask No. 95.37: Adventurous African safari from a second fill charred red wine barrique, Cask No. 112.53: Sophisticated seductive Sazerac cocktail from a first fill Limousin oak hogshead and Cask No. 10.187: Elemental my dear flotsam from a second fill Madeira hogshead, previously used to mature a bottling from its Islay neighbour, distillery 29. All three casks share a thread of dark oaky richness, but are different flavour profiles, from Sweet, Fruity & Mellow to Spicy & Sweet and Oily & Coastal. See how the dark red wine sweetness of the 95.37 pairs with jerky, cured meats or some biltong if you want the African Savannah experience alluded to in the Tasting Notes. The 112.53 has traces of Black Forest gateau and kirsch and could go very well with your dessert. And 10.187 has a lot of gooseberry, elderflower, dill and fennel seeds, with a hint of smoke, so would work well with cured fish and creamed cheese.
Dive into the Tasting Notes in general to guide you towards other suggested pairings, or let our bottle names be your inspiration – Cask No. 66.166: Monster brunch brings to mind a popular crisp snack in the UK as well as a big platter of food that includes mouth-watering references to bacon, black olives, duck confit, pancetta and cured game meats (as well as some less appetising notes of old car batteries, a big ‘welly’ boot in the mouth and wilted geraniums…) Take your pick!
Cask No. 94.7: Pickle Rick! Is a Young & Spritely Highlander to match with hot salty ramen broth, while Cask No. 85.62: Geranium jalfrezi is perfectly fragrant for the lighter side of Indian cuisine, with its notes of lime leaves, ginger, bay leaf and cinnamon. If it’s something as simple as a hotdog that you’re craving, we can even match with that – the aromas of spicy brown mustard and onions sautéed with a tomato paste make Cask No. 46.89: Big Apple hot dogs the perfect partner – but it would work equally well with a hoisin duck wrap or sticky spicy buffalo chicken wings.
It’s not only whisky that can hit the spot with a food pairing. Our latest gin, Cask No. GN3.7: Juniper – the tonic key! from Hawick has spent a year in a second fill bourbon barrel, giving it a smooth sweetness. Its juniper berry notes and citrus would be wonderful with any smørrebrød containing fish or pickled herring.
Or for a sweeter combination, go for Cask No. R8.7: The volcanic spirit – this is a Spanish-style rum from Nicaragua, very dark and fruity and sweet, and with a strength of 67.5%, it’s another brute that will take dilution or mixer very well. The Tasting Notes reference Madeira cake and cocoa powder, so pair this with a rich fruitcake or use it as the base for a classic rum cocktail.
The essential ingredient for any whisky and food pairing – a sense of adventure, with an equal serving of fun.