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Issue 142 - Open Up The Flavour

Whisky Magazine Issue 142
March 2017


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Open Up The Flavour

Not all whiskeys can be paired

On the fifth batch of ice cream, I admitted defeat. After 24 egg yolks, three litres of cream, and having exhausted the contents of my spice rack, I came to the conclusion that some whiskeys are best savoured on their own without food. The whiskey that brought on this revelation was Bushmills 21 Years Old Single Malt. It is a cracker of a whiskey, teeming with lush toffee, dried fruit and nuts. Yet when paired with the typical bedfellows for these flavours of vanilla, coffee or dark chocolate, the food failed to enliven any new flavour discoveries in the whiskey. For me, pairing whiskey and food is a joy. It can be fun, frivolous, but most often, it is revealing. The right match for a whiskey can reveal flavours bound tightly within in the whiskey that weren't evident before the pairing. Some whiskeys however, are best left unadorned, there is no need to gild a lily.

While I may have struck out with the oldest of the Bushmills single malts, there is plenty of scope for pairing within the range. The two blends (Original and Black Bush) are extremely versatile but it is the 10 Years Old single malt that really surprised me. The flavours are bolder than I had recalled, a testament to the skill and care of distiller Colum Egan and blender Helen Mulholland. A highlight of a recent visit to the distillery was seeing Colum giddily chowing down on a ham and cheese toastie, a twist on the classic Irish pub staple that I had suggested alongside a Bushmills 10 Years Old Single Malt. T...

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