PAIRINGS

Drambuie 15 Whisky

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Celt Golden – 4.2% Beer

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Celt Bleddyn 1075 5.6% Beer

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Celt Dark Aged Beer

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Talisker Dark Storm Whisky

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Celt Ogham Ash Beer

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Yamazaki Distillers’ Reserve Whisky

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Dark-aged 4.0% Beer

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Glengoyne 15 Whisky

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Macadamia Nuts Dipped in Sea Flakes, Rio Caribe 44 Milk Chocolate

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Talisker Storm and Venezuelan Gold Rio Caribe 72

With its smoky rich characteristic, this whisky – made at the only distillery on Scotland’s Isle of Skye – has a similar weightiness on the palate as the chocolate, and remarkably many similar flavour notes. They are like old European royal families, Kings in their own countries, but closely related!

Pairing with thanks to Mikael and David

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Ardbeg and Venezuelan Gold Las Trincheras 72

This 10 year old single malt whisky from Islay has delicate, not overpowering peatiness which the soft, welcoming Las Trincheras complemented, without overpowering it. When I tried the Ardbeg with the more powerful Javan Dark Breaking 69, they fought like wildcats.

Pairing with thanks to Mikael and David

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Macallan and Peruvian Gold Chulucanas 70

This Macallan Select has long ripe yellow fruit notes; it is not heavily oaked and reminded me almost of sherry.

The raisin and plum notes in the Peruvian played beautifully off this.

Pairing with thanks to Mikael and David

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Auchentoshan and Venezuelan Gold Rio Caribe 72

This 12 year old single malt is exceptionally smooth with vanilla notes. With deep coffee and nut notes of the Rio Caribe it plays a smooth supporting act.

Pairing with thanks to Mikael and David

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Drambuie 15 or Compass Box Orangerie and Luscious Orange

This is a wonderfully bright, citrussy chocolate with honey notes, perfect for cool evenings indoors in the autumn or winter.

To shake things up and make it even more indulgent, I looked to whisky liqueurs.

Both Drambuie 15 – with its sweet, heathery spiciness – and Compass Box Orangerie (a whisky liqueur with hints of orange peel) work with the chocolate to create a perfect pudding pairing.

Pairing thanks to @themisswhisky, www.misswhisky.com

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Tomatin 14 and Milk of the Gods, Rio Caribe 44

This chocolate packs a mighty sweet punch and has a wonderful creaminess and depth of flavour. There are a couple of options for pairing with a high % cacao milk chocolate like this: soft or spicy, depending on whether you want to match the

chocolate’s intensity or cut through the sweetness.

For the former, I liked Tomatin 14. This whisky made at the distillery near Inverness is matured for part of its life in ex-Port pipes, which lends a fruitiness and acidity to the whisky, and works well with the milky characteristic of the chocolate.

For the latter, check out The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14, a whisky matured in American oak ex-bourbon casks for most of its life and finished in ex-rum casks – the spiciness of the rum and sweetness of the whisky both cuts through and melds with the chocolate.

Pairing thanks to @themisswhisky, www.misswhisky.com

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Talisker Dark Storm and Indonesian Gold

I loved the slightly burnt caramel and leathery smoke note that came through on the chocolate so looked for something both sweet and smoky to work with it.

Personally, I like the Talisker Dark Storm (found in airport duty free shops – if you’re unlikely to travel, give its slightly less intense but equally delicious baby brother, Storm, a try). With its smoky rich characteristic, the whisky – made at the only distillery on Scotland’s Isle of Skye – has a similar weightiness on the palate as the chocolate. Also check out Bowmore Darkest, a 15 year old whisky from the oldest distillery on Islay in Scotland, as an alternative.

Pairing thanks to @themisswhisky, www.misswhisky.com

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Yamazaki Distillers’ Reserve and Colombian Gold, Los Llanos 88

This is a rich, dense chocolate with 88% cocoa solids that needs something punchy with lots of weightiness to hold up to the deep coconut and nutmeg notes that I found present in it. However, with something this bold the key is in deciding if you want to make it brasher or to tone it down.

I paired it with the Yamazaki Distillers’ Reserve, a beautiful single malt from Japan, which softened the chocolate, made it rounder and brought out its fruity characteristics. For a bolder note, try the Auchentoshan Valinch, a mighty strong whisky coming in at 57% ABV – with its vanilla and fruit notes, this single malt from the Scottish Lowlands enhances the chocolate’s intensity.

Pairing thanks to @themisswhisky, www.misswhisky.com

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Glengoyne 15 & Peruvian Gold, Chulucanas 70

This softly fruity chocolate has lots of balance and its notes on the palate of chocolate coated raisins, leather and liquorice make it perfect for a whisky which has a medium body, a bit of spice and a mix of flavours.

For this, I’ve chosen the Glengoyne 15. Created at the quaint distillery just outside of Glasgow, this whisky is made using a combination of European oak ex-sherry cask matured whisky (giving notes of raisins and leather) and American oak ex-bourbon cask matured whisky (providing notes of vanilla). The flavour profile, along with a slight oaky spiciness and an alcohol strength of 43% ABV, brings out an earthy/spicy note to the chocolate.

Pairing thanks to @themisswhisky, www.misswhisky.com

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