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Issue 69 - Match Makers

Whisky Magazine Issue 69
January 2008


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Match Makers

Throughout 2007 Diageo has been matching its whiskies with food from countries including Spain and India. For the final event of the year the destination was Milan.

Of all the subjects that can be linked to whisky the one most likely to divide opinion is that of food.While some are adamant that malt whisky will never sit comfortably next to the main course on the dinner table, others argue that the quality of good Scotch and its array of flavours make it an ideal guest alongside the finest cuisine.

Five years ago it even led to open warfare when the hosts of Laphroaig masterclass at Whisky Live London matched the Islay malt with cheese, infuriating some of the audience who mistakenly thought that a ‘unique taste of Laphroaig'meant they were to taste a rare bottling and not the standard 10 Years Old with a lump of Camembert.

If we're totally honest, 2007 did little to progress the debate one way or the other. In fact it was to a great extent a year of food pairing inertia.

But there was one big and major exception:Diageo.

Say what you like about the drinks giant but it doesn't do things in halves.So when it announced it was to take a different approach to food and malt pairings, it was clear its new approach would have some panache.

So out went six course dinners with malt served alongside each course.And in came a series of regular informal soirees, each themed around a different country.Each tasting started in the early evening and lasted just 90 minutes.

“They have been very successful,”says Diageo's director of malts, Nicholas Morgan.“With the dinners we would get maybe five guests and as many Diageo employees and the me...

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