Kilchoman peat pairing dinner!

To say it was a special evening was an understatement! We began with three whiskies from Kilchoman having exactly the same peat level (50 ppm) yet each remarkably different.

Then after the initial blind sampling, the whiskies were revealed then move on to the real fun – whisky & food pairing!


1st course – Machir Bay

Machir Bay with salad:  A delightful salad with smoked cheese, smoked olive oil, smoked almond, smoked salt, light greens offset with bursts of cherry tomatoes.

Pairing experience? 

Whisky was very smooth, softened all the peat, some speculated that the salad surprisingly conquered the whisky making it delicate and dainty which was a complete contrast to the character we found sampling alone. Like gelding a stallion.

 Kilchoman Smoked Salad

2nd course – Sanaig

Sanaig with main:  Choice between a smoked winter vegetable ratatouille & smoked applewood chicken with an almond mash potato.

Pairing experience? 

Brilliant match with both veg & non-veg options! The food brought out the sherry elements in the whisky with the nose taking on a gorgeous sweet raisin, plum almost port like quality that balanced the smoked flavours beautifully. The cracked black pepper in the potato mash added just the right heat. An excellent combination! Some attempted with the 3rd whisky but that simply did not work.

 Kilchoman Sherry Cask Chocolate Ganache

3rd course – Sherry Cask Strength

Sherry cask strength with desert:  A lovely chocolate cake with a Sherry Cask Strength whisky ganache.

Pairing experience? 

While sherry with such a chocolate desert is a perfect combination, cask strength with peat is a tough combination to pull off. Suggestion of a Glendronach or something with a little less ‘kick’ may have been a better compliment. In this pairing, the whisky spice dominated however the whisky spiked sauce? A fabulous luscious indulgence!

How did the whisky-food pairing fare overall?

  • Machir Bay and salad pairing was absolutely on the right track, though curious how the smokey salad flavours conquered the whisky
  • Sanaig and main course pairing was perfection. Absolute balance between the elements, complimenting beautifully
  • Sherry Cask Strength and chocolate pairing was a gamble…. In this case, the whisky spice was more pronounced than the delicious chocolate however no one was really complaining 🙂

Overall a marvellous evening – three unique expressions from Kilchoman paired with delightful dishes.

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Kilchoman Sherry Single Cask 60.6%

Last in our Kilchoman peat explorations was the Kilchoman Sherry Single Cask matured completely in a sherry butt and bottled at cask strength.

Kilchoman Machir Bay, Sanaig, Sherry Cask

Kilchoman Machir Bay, Sanaig, Sherry Cask

  • Colour: Deep copper
  • Nose: Again such a contrast from the previous whiskies! Initial punch of blue stilton cheese, curd, then a hint of peat, some spice, buttery leather… as it opened a tight ball of citrus gradually opened
  • Taste: Spice, strength, boot leather, sits on the tongue
  • Finish: Waves of beautiful sherry peat
  • Water: Hmm… kicked up the spice even more when that was already a powerful element
Speculation: All thought it must be cask strength however none could imagine over 60%.
Reveal: This time, the Kilchoman was matured 100% in Oloroso Sherry butts. A powerful whisky and part of a special La Maison du Whisky “Trilogy” series. We sampled the:
Cask # 199/2010. Distilled 8 April 2010 & Bottled 31 August 2015. Bottle #204 of 642.

For those tuning in now, our Kilchoman evening featured:

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Aberlour 16 year (1995/2011) Cask No 2303 57.2%

I will admit to having a weakness for a sherry bomb or two. While not my ‘everyday dram’, when in the mood for something robust and very berry good, nothing beats it.

Aberlour‘s A’bunadh is a particularly good example of a full cask strength sherry bomb that remains in the affordable category.

No surprise then that this 1st fill sherry cask Aberlour was a hit!

Last in our special “filled by hand” distillery trio, it was quite the whisky.

Hand filled Abelour 16 year

Hand filled Abelour 16 year

Aberlour 16 year (10 June 1995 / 6 Sept 2011) Cask No 2303 (1st fill sherry), Bottle No 180, 57.2%

Here is what we found:

  • Nose – Gorgeous sherry! Figs, plums, juicy dark fruit, nuts, christmas cake, chocolate, dates, orange peel, vanilla
  • Palate – Woodsy dry edge, bit bitter, light balsa then softened to settle into a balanced sweet, bursting with raisins
  • Finish – Rich plums
  • Water – Not necessary but doesn’t hurt. The little extra spice adds something, rounds it out further and opens up to reveal ginger

Overall – a very palatable, rich, sherry bomb that goes down beautifully well.

While thoroughly enjoyable, when it came time to chose my preferred dram to accompany my panatela cigar, I will admit reaching for the Glenmorangie as the Aberlour was fabulous to sample but almost too much ‘Christmas’ for the March heat in Mumbai.

Also part of our remarkable Cask Strength hand-filled whiskies evening:

Other Abelour’s sampled previously:

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Bombay Malt + Cigar – Bragging rights!

The latest edition of Mumbai based whisky sampling adventures has (un)officially been dubbed the BMC aka Bombay Malt & Cigar club (play on the ubiquitous Bombay Municipal Corporation)… and it is insane the levels these gents achieve.

Our 1st session featured ‘Adult’ whiskies… all 21 years or older.

Our 2nd session featured cask strength whiskies each personally filled by our host during various visits to Scotland between 2006 to 2011.

Are you kidding me?! How on earth are us mere mortals to top that???

Our host duly wins bragging rights for offering us three such unique whiskies.

What did we sample?

What on earth will top this for our next session?

Hand filled whisky

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