With alcohol pairing, whisky is just one of those spirits that doesn’t usually come with a companion, unless you count cigars (which we don’t).
However, with the growing interest in whisky, some pretty interesting combinations are starting to spring up.
For one, have you tried the magical whisky and cheesecombination?
Yes, you heard us right. The strong, aromatic drink single malt together with mouth-watering cheese.
We were introduced to this match made in alcohol heaven by The Balvenie, a Scottish single malt whiskey maker, that recently introduced their Southeast Asia Brand Ambassador, James Cordiner.
Why does whisky & cheese combo work?
For one there’s the basic science of it. James explains that the high alcohol content of whisky nicely cuts through the creaminess and fattiness of the cheese, thus releasing more flavours within the cheese.
Secondly, opposites attract. He explains that using contrasting flavours helps enhance the flavours of each component.
How to find the perfect whiskey & cheese combo
Armed with a wealth of knowledge of the history and craft of whisky-making as well as being born and raised around all that good scotch in Speyside, Scotland, James lets us know which pairing makes a gouda couple.
1. Sweet & Spicy Whisky + Smoked Cheese
Using contrasting flavours, the sweet vanilla, honey, toffee notes with subtle spices (cinnamon and ginger) of ‘The Balvenie Doublewood – Aged 12 Years’ pairs best with a nice smoky, meaty cheese.
2. Fruitier Whisky + Nutty & Tangy Cheese
In this case, James finds that ‘The Balvenie Caribbean Cask – Aged 14 Years’ goes nicely with the nutty and tangy RIK Cheese from local cheesemaker Milky Whey Cheese.
This particular scotch is predominantly packed with tropical flavours of pineapple, stoned fruits, lemon grass and black with a little citrus. The nutty tang of the cheese actually complements the citrusy notes in the whisky.
3. Strong & Spicy Whisky + Blue Cheese
If you prefer a stronger tipple, packed with Sherry spice, oak and tannins like ‘The Balvenie Doublewood – Aged 17 Years’, blue cheese is the best. With its quintessentially strong flavour, the blue cheese does not get lost when paired with an equally intense whisky.
According to James, blue cheese also still has a creamy texture despite the strong flavour. So when you take a sip of whiskey after trying the cheese, it creates a wonderful mouth feel.
4. Delicate, Subtle Whisky + Brie
One of James’ favourite whiskey and cheese pairings, he places ‘The Balvenie Portwood – Aged 21 Years’ together with a beautifully creamy brie.
In case you didn’t know, this 21-year-old scotch is a nuanced drink that’s surprisingly delicate with with notes of honeyed fruits, dates, prunes, figs, and raisin. Yes, the very fruits commonly paired with the delicate brie, which explains why most would a-brie with this combination!
Now that you’re armed with the precious knowledge of whisky and cheese pairing, we strongly recommend you try it because it really makes everything much cheddar!