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Issue 34 - A fishy tale

Whisky Magazine Issue 34
October 2003


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A fishy tale

In the latest in an occasional series of matching whisky with food, Dave Broom compares and contrasts some sushi-whisky combinations

Scene I
An almighty shout had stopped us in our tracks. None of the diners seemed at all fazed by the entire staff of the restaurant stopping work to bellow at a group of people walking through the door.

As we were to find out, this was perfectly normal behaviour at Nobu. Everyone is greeted like this, though since there were 20 or more in our party straggling through the door the shouting continued for longer than usual.

We were at this, one of Tokyo's most chi-chi establishments, to conduct Whisky Magazine's inaugural whisky and sushi tasting.

Eight different sushi would be paired with eight different whiskies (see box).

These exercises are always fun, occasionally they're even illuminating, but the result of any panel tasting is a consensus which normally gives broad guidelines and little more. Here, the approval ratings were unusually high, inferring that something deeper was going on.

Only two matches were felt to be poor: the cask-strength Wild Turkey was too strong for the squid while the Glenlivet 12 year old fought a valiant, but losing, battle against the sea urchin – though the low mark reflected most of the (predominantly Scottish) panellists aversion to the intensely flavoured echinoderm.

Talisker won the day, but that was a foregone conclusion. Skye's malt and oysters is a match made in heaven. That Arran went well with salmon wasn't too surprising either, this is a classic Scottish combo.

What was more intriguing was how the Yamazaki matched the salty ...

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