[Tasting Session] Whisky shop - Whisky and Food 23/04/16

I haven't really mentioned many of the tasting sessions I attended at the WhiskyShop Manchester since the Old and Rare one at the end of November. I was there a week ago for a customers' favourite session which was rather busy and had some decent bottles for us to try (anCnoc 12, Benriach 10, Old Pulteney 12, GlenDronach 12, Bunnahabhain 12 and we finished on the Loch Fyne Living cask -a peated vatted malt- served with some blue cheese, which announced the theme for this weekend). I was back again this Saturday, this time for my first whisky and food pairing session.
5 bottles on offer and 5 (bite-size) food to go with them. So let me tell you more about what we got to try and mix together.

The first dram was Woodford Reserve's Straight Rye, served with a glacé cherry and mint leaves. I think they wanted to try a somehow deconstructed "Old Fashioned" cocktail. For me, the Woodford was the star of the night and the combination of cherry and mint worked a treat with its sweet and spicy taste.

We then moved on to Aberfeldy 12, served with pieces of fresh pineapple. I have always associated pineapple and many other tropical fruit with rum, in drinks such as punch or pina colada, but this clean honeyed Highland is a great match for pineapple. A bit of a revelation in my mind.

The third one was an independent bottle of Inchgower 8 years old, finish in a red win cask, served with white chocolate and raspberry bites. Inchgower is a Speyside distillery which pretty much only produces spirit for the blend industry (Bell's in particular) without any proper single malt releases, so this one was interesting. Nosing the whisky after it was poured , I could smell raspberries first which evolved into more winey notes after a couple of minutes. Once again, the rich whisky and the sweet chocolate was a good combination.

Moving on to stronger flavours, with some Talisker 57 degree North and smoked salmon on blinis (with an extra spray of Talisker on top!). The mix of smoky whisky and smoked salmon is something I had tried at home and really enjoyed but using some Lagavulin 16 which in my mind worked better. The Talisker was good but I felt the flavour of a peatier Islay married better with smoked salmon.

Finally we had some peat and blue cheese, as we had the week before, with the Loch Fyne Living cask. Peat and blue cheese is one of the most surprising combination of flavours as each time I have tried it, the result is the same: the strong blue cheese flavour makes peaty whisky taste so sweet that most of the peat vanishes. A great thing to try if you haven't already done it!

As a member of the Whisky club, the session cost me £5 instead of £10, but even if I had paid full price, I cannot really think of a better way to spend your evening than that! So thanks again to the WhiskyShop and to Phil who presented the evening in such a passionate and informative way, as always!

The line-up for the night
Inchgower 8 years old and chocolate
Phil spraying some Talisker 57 degree North onto the smoked salmon

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