To try this set I was inspired by on interview with Charles Maclean, when he said that Lagavulin 16 Year Old with Roquefort cheese is one of his favorite pairings. I took similar cheese I like a lot. For pairing I decided to take set of powerful, but bit different ones – with Lagavulin and Talisker I took Longmorn also and started with it.
Fruity, malty, woody and grassy Longmorn was not good pairing with this cheese. Whisky became very bitter and unpleasantly spicy and was overwhelmed by cheese. I have got some spirity and pungent aftertaste. I think that one can be better with anything else.
Longmorn 16 Year Old – NO. It is nicer alone than like this. Spicy, fruity whisky is not a good pair with powerful whisky.
Let‘s go with Talisker. Briny, smoky and peppery whisky compliments this cheese really well. This pairing is really interesting – the combination becomes even more salty, spicy and pungent. In a good sense. Both components amplifiers each other, but doesn’t not overpowers. Peppery, pleasantly bitter and spicy aftertaste. The taste of cheese is very present and Talisker helps to shine it even more. In my experience, very good pairing.
Talisker 10 Year Old – YES. Great pairing – without any flaw.
Let’s take another good and potential candidate, Lagavulin. Experience is similar as with Talisker, bet there is additional dimension – almond, liquorice notes adds up with more spice. Maybe too bitter for me. But aftertaste is very good – salty and spicy, with those roasted salty almonds. Pleasant enough, but it is not so good as with Talisker (maybe I drank to much?) Absolute win versus Longmorn, but on the par with Talisker. And bit different. Interesting pairing, really – there were some additional notes, like the effect of great combination. It is more sweet and more full, the most complex. I am not even sure I understood it completely ( I really took too much whisky maybe). Talisker was more enjoyable probably.
Lagavulin 16 Year Old – YES, but.. this time Talisker is my favorite. This pairing is very rich, maybe too much of taste for me.
After first not so good attempt (Bowmore with beef steak) I would like to try something vegetarian with something robust and with something bit lighter, but complex enough. So what we have here now? This time let‘s take Talisker 10 Year Old and Yamazaki 18 year old and let‘s try to balance it with simple food. Simple, but very nice, my all time favorite dish. This time I take brown rice mixed with wild and red rice from Camargue (swampy are in south of France, well known for its salt, rice and bulls). I mix rice with friend (in a butter) ognion and carrot. I enrich it with Grana Padano and seeds (pumpkin and cedar nuts) with some strong spice.
Let‘s take Talisker first. First impressions – hm.. not bad.. could be very good one.. Salty smoky whisky suits well bit sweet oily rice with oily seeds and spice. Good balance overall. Power of Talisker adds some kick to simple but rich food. With water (whisky, not food!) Even better! Talisker saltiness goes down and it swims even better now. I don‘t want to write a lot. I just want to eat instead typing this on my pc.
Talisker 10 Year Old – YES. Worth trying, not bad at all. Didn‘t disappoint, but, there is room for better candidate. We will try onother then.
Now it is turn for Yamazaki. First impressions – better than first whisky. Tannic and complex fruitiness of Yamazaki goes well with this simple and rich food. Sweet dish goes very well with every sip of Yamazaki. This is great pairing in my opinion – the best for now, at least. Interesting thing – food is very simple, and whisky is really special.
ANd please leve some drops after the meal. Just to end your pleasure appropriately.
Yamazaki 18 Year Old – YES. Great pairing– it is not recommended for those, who can’t eat without meat. You can feel the gap and would be willing to add something. But for me, lover of various combination of food, this mix was very good and I had good pleasure to try it. Ok, let’s finish enjoying whisky that is not so quotidian (not for me at least).
Sometimes I like to try some whisky with food. So I will gladly share my insights and experience now and for the future.
The reason I wanted to try this particular whisky is that this Bowmore had 10 years finish on Bordeaux (Chateaux Lagrange) wine casks. Bordeaux wines are one of my favorites with medium or raw beef steak. So I wanted to try something interesting and poweful – rich, pungent and smoky one for the steak matured with olive oil and Provence herbs.
Ok, let‘s start.. Single malt is rich with cranberries, pepper and almond notes – it is to powerfull and overhelms the meat. Together with food I can find bitter caramelized nuts taste and it is not enjoyable. Water doesn‘t help too – briny notes with smoked ham can not bring good harmony at all.
Chosen whisky is special and I could call it „love it or hate it“ type of whisky. In my opinijon with steak there should be something else, more simple, less powerfull but rich enough.
Verdict - NO.
Both steak and Bowmore 1992 Bordeaux Finish are great, but separately. Not worth to mix it. Next time I will try the steak with some Speysider or Highland malt. Or even Highland Park or Springbank. We will try again soon!