Enjoying whisky matched with food is a growing trend that we see more of in Australia, whether it be whiskies paired with oysters, cheese or chocolates. (Trust me it’s delicious).
The vast variety of flavours found in whiskies from all over Scotland means there is an unlimited potential to find delicious morsels of food to complement, contrast, accentuate and amplify the flavours in the whisky, whether they be savoury or sweet.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting the Global Master Ambassador for Glenmorangie David Blackmore, who was in Sydney for a week of consumer and trade engagement sessions around the appreciation of the exquisite Glenmorangie Signet. David’s vast experience with the whiskies under the care of Master Distiller Dr. Bill Lumsden and as such was able to offer some detailed insights into the way the whisky is put together.
The stage was set by the team from Moet Hennessy Australia, in the form of a pop-up bar in the heart of Barangaroo, featuring a collaboration between the Glenmorangie Signet, pastry chef Reynold Poernomo from KOI Dessert Bar and bartenders from Smoke, Kittyhawk and Button providing the inspired cocktails for corporates and consumers alike, right at their doorstep. Local Glenmorangie Ambassador, Garth Foster said, “The collaboration with brands, bartenders and chefs is something we’ll be seeing a lot more of, as it allows consumers to gain a deeper insight into the enjoyment and appreciation of whisky which is surprising and memorable. We’ve had an amazing response from guests at our pop-up and having David here was the crème on top”.
David had brought from Scotland four component whiskies that are in Signet and were presented in a deconstructed tasting to illustrate the role they play in building up the final characters, flavours and incredible balance of the Signet.
The beating heart of Signet is a whisky made from chocolate malt – a type of malted barley that has spent extra time roasting in a large tumble dryer to further add layers of roasted, toasty notes and a deep espresso richness. The chocolate malt influenced whisky had promise on its own but was not quite complete. It needed something else.
The second component whisky is a fully matured in ex-oloroso sherry Spanish oak, with its broad and nutty aromas, had flavour elements of treacle and brown sugar and that added to the Signet’s complexity.
The third component whisky is a first-fill American oak cask whisky that has loads of delicious honeycomb sweetness and tinges of citrus notes reminiscent of mandarin peel to give balance and a counterpoint to the more robust flavoured whiskies in the Signet.
The fourth component whisky was an advanced aged, beautifully balanced whisky in its own right, and was aged in virgin charred American oak and is there to give length and harmony to the Signet.
Finally, we were presented with the Glenmorangie Signet with the Nomtella – a signature creation of the newly anointed dessert king, Reynold Poernomo from KOI Dessert Bar. Upon tasting a little spoonful of the dessert, sweet and subtle bitter notes from the espresso and salted caramel mousse was matched by the rich intensity and perfect balance of the Signet. Another taste of the dessert had layers of chocolate, and delicate notes of mandarin and orange and another sip of Signet sent the taste buds into overdrive, completing the spirited match. Now, this is what I’m talking about!
(For more on whisky and food matching, see our recently published explore Whisky special edition in liquor stores now, with contributions from whisky legends James Buntin and Simon McGoram).
WORDS BEN DAVIDSON