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Issue 110 - The Sweet Side of Life

Whisky Magazine Issue 110
March 2013


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The Sweet Side of Life

Martine Nouet explores honey and whisky.

When I explain the way I pair whisky with food, I always mention the importance of finding a 'bridge' that will link the food to the drink, whatever style of marriage you are looking for. It is as necessary in an opposition matching as in a complementing or a fusion one.

I'd like to focus on honey, which, though being a common product still keeps an air of mystery. Rich and diverse, honey brings an incredible range of flavours to food. I am not, or rather I was not, a great adept of honey. I gulp it down like a medicine when I have a sore throat. But I like using it in cooking and if I want to sweeten a sauce or a pudding, I most often prefer it to sugar or any kind of syrup.

Honey certainly comes as one of the most recurrent descriptors in single malt tasting notes, with people often noting: pure honey, fruit poached in a honeyed syrup, honey caramelised cereals…

Whatever the form the descriptor takes, we are still talking of honey.

More precisely, we could say that Speyside is 'the land of whisky and honey'. Or should we say 'honeyed whisky'. The sweet malty core of many a Speyside malt mingles with a distinctive fruitiness and results in that honey character.

Now, honey yes, but what kind? When I started creating recipes which include single malt as an ingredient as well as in my pairings, I just used 'honey'. I was more paying attention to the texture than to the taste. It had to be runny honey, much easier to stir in the mix than thick honey.

I must confess I use...

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