THE HOLY TRINITY
Only ever reached for a pint of lager with your curry? It’s time to think again. Unfiltered teamed up with Edinburgh chef Tony Singh and Michael Johnstone from Walkie Talky Brewing Co to find the perfect trinity of Society whisky, craft beer and spice-infused Indian cuisine
SPICE UP YOUR LIFE
One of the great pleasures of nosing and tasting whisky is in identifying the different spices that emerge in the glass and on the palate says SMWS spirits manager Euan Campbell.
Turn up the heat and explore this month’s new casks as we delve into the wonderful world of whisky and beer pairings with a spicy twist.
Cask No. 58.46
PROFILE Juicy, Oak & Vanilla REGION Speyside AGE 9 Years ABV 57.9% CASK TYPE 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
The nose drifted from honey, golden syrup and toffee apples to wild flowers, wintergreen and lemongrass, then a waft of wood, a generosity of ginger and traces of toasted coconut. The palate’s butterscotch, barley sugars, Victoria sponge and honey were nicely balanced by pencil shavings, clove, nutmeg and pickled ginger.
The reduced nose was summery and bright – green melon, tart lemons, rhubarb rock, polished wood and an old fashioned knapsack (canvas and leather). A pleasant juiciness now crept into the palate – peach, raspberry, apricot and lemon meringue with a warming finish of sanded wood and wax, Black Jack chews and Peshawari naan.
Cask No. 6.54
A TWO STAGE STONKER
PROFILE Spicy & Sweet REGION Speyside AGE 12 Years ABV 58.1% CASK TYPE 2nd fill ex- bourbon barrel
This nose combined savoury and woody impressions, like charcuterie on wooden serving boards or ‘pulling nori from miso soup with wooden chopsticks’ – it also had citrus fruits, iced gems and rhubarb rock. The palate was a two stage stonker – zingy and citric (lemon and lime sweets, unripe plums, apple strudel) with spicy warmth later (sweet chilli, cinnamon, clove, five spice). The reduced nose found sherbet straws, Liquorice Allsorts, shortbread and porridge with honey and almond flakes. The palate was sweet with a spicy kick – apricot jam, Battenberg cake, cinnamon raisin bagels, chilli chocolate; then liquorice and Victory V heat to finish.
Cask No. 46.118
DEEP ARMCHAIR SATISFACTION
PROFILE Old & Dignified REGION Speyside AGE 28 Years ABV 52.0% CASK TYPE 1st fill ex-oloroso barrique
After 26 years in ex-bourbon wood we transferred this into a first-fill oloroso barrique. The nose was like sniffing a butt – oak, leather tobacco pouches, orange peel, chocolate dipped cherries, raisins and prunes. On our palates the oak and the fruit danced a mesmerizing zarabanda – ‘like sitting in a chesterfield with a cigar, eating chocolates out of a mahogany box’; also raspberry ripple, pomegranate molasses, lapsang tea, pickled ginger and chewy wood.
The reduced nose – date slice, honey drizzled figs, pecan pie, coffee grounds, cigar smoke and ice-cream sundaes. The palate’s plum jam, fruit leathers, medjool dates, sherry and cigars suggested armchair satisfaction and contemplation.
Cask No. 19.59
DATES AND STAVES
PROFILE Juicy, Oak & Vanilla REGION Highland AGE 10 Years ABV 59.8% CASK TYPE 1st fill ex-bourbon barrell
The nose was complex with sweet aromas of toffee, honey And sticky pastries mixing with tropical fruits and roasted nuts dusted with Moroccan spices. The fruits expanded on the palate into mango, melon, banana and papaya with peppermint sherbet and dried herbs mingling with nutmeg and allspice.
Adding a little water brought out fennel seeds, cumin seeds and kaffir lime leaves before deeper notes of dates, raisins and dark chocolate covered nuts emerged. Tropical fruits remained but now alongside oak and cask char. Complex leafy and herbal flavours evolved into green olives, capers and strong black tea with hints of smoke.
THE SPICE ROUTE
The range of spices you can detect in a complex glass of SMWS single malt is seemingly never-ending. But how does each one of the Society’s 12 flavour profiles pair with a specific flavour note? We asked SMWS executive head chef, James Freeman, to match one of his signature dishes with a suitably spicy Society dram.
LET TONY SINGH FIRE UP YOUR SINGLE CASK SENSES
A whisky and beer combination is a winner that we turn our attention to around the time of Oktoberfest, and in this issue we’re celebrating the synergies between the two worlds.