Imagine you are a celebrated curator of special gourmet experiences.
Picture your normal metier as a sommelier is to pair food with wine.
Then someone comes to you with a challenge…
Craft a unique evening pairing dishes with cask strength peated whiskies you have never tried before.
And will not have an opportunity to sample until the evening itself.
Nikhil Agarwal of All Things Nice rose to the challenge, armed with tasting notes… he planned a remarkable six course meal…
However, a true professional, on sampling the whiskies, he suggested reversing the PX with sherry or simply playing around with a sip of each to determine the best pairing. As we discovered, some of the assumptions made based on the tasting notes needed to be adjusted when faced with the reality of our experience with the different expressions.
Kilchoman Bourbon bottle tasting notes:
- Colour – Golden hay
- Nose – Soft fruits, citrus notes with sweet smoky aroma
- Palate – Vanilla and caramel evident, with a soft full character and ripe fruit notes
- Finish – Long, clean and sweet with peat smoke and soft citrus notes at the end
- The pani puri was served with the warm chickpea sabra a surprise inside its crunchy pocket. It was hot and spicy with a sweet tangy tamarind. With the bourbon it ‘popped’ into a crazy tasty combination that left you craving more! Which we shameless requested, to then contrast trying a delicious morsel with each whisky. What we found is the bourbon brought out the spice more, the sherry the sweet side and the PX was juuuust right!
- And the vada pau? The dry coconut and home made bottle masala made this completely distinctive, standing out as much more than just the savoury snack so loved by Mumbaikars. While all sampled it first with the bourbon, it was when we crossed over to the PX that we discovered a spontaneous combustion of flavours in an absolutely fabulous pairing!
Kilchoman PX bottle tasting notes:
- Colour – Golden amber
- Nose – Strong vanilla with citrus fruits, caramelised brown sugar and sultanas
- Palate – Sweet toffee up front with a hint of marmalade, dryness and a long peaty finish
- Finish – The finish is long and clean with rich smoke and dried fruit
- I can’t speak for the carnivores, but the baingan bharta and bhajan was was a complete treat! To then have bhindi (bitter gourd) prepared my favourite way and a rich comforting home style mixed lentil? And hot buttered naan… Let’s just say my taste buds were doing a happy dance long before whisky was introduced….
- What I found was different elements paired best with different whiskies. For the mixed dal? Definitely the sherry. For the bhindi? The PX. And the baingan, even the bourbon worked however it was back to the PX for most.
- The delight with the next course was the contrast between the hot biryani and the cold raita. Again we tried different combinations with the whisky. For some, it went best with the bourbon, others the sherry. Interestingly none would chose to pair this dish with the PX.
- Colour – Dark burnished copper
- Nose – Deep sherry, smoke and leather notes
- Palate – Rich, luxurious sherry flavours. Viscous almost syrupy, lots of cooked fruits and citrus peel
- Finish – Excellent, for a young whisky this has all the characteristics of great age
What did we find?
- In both cases, zero doubt on the whisky pairing choice – the PX. The salty sweet combination of the honey drizzled parmigiana paired beautifully with it. As it did with the sinful chocolate too!
Clearly the PX was the most versatile and the whisky that worked best paired with various dishes. What we found when we sampled it before the dinner was a whisky that was more accessible and easier to simply enjoy than the bourbon or sherry. While each of the trilogy is a unique and worthy whisky,
We’ve had the pleasure of sampling several Kilchomans….
- Kilchoman peat pairing
- Kilchoman Trilogy
- Kilchoman Coull Point
- Kilchoman Machir Bay
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