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During my last visit to the local whisky bar, Helvetica, I was able to finally get my name on the email list in order to be contacted for tastings and events and such.
Now many of you will remember the odyssey, dare I say, epic odyssey, that was the event of finally going to Helvetica. An odyssey which involved poor people (being me and my wife), sickness, conflicting work schedules and an emergency appendix removal.
Thankfully this visit was much much easier.
So shortly after my last visit to Helvetica I receive an email stating that the bar will be doing a whisky tasting that pairs up different distilleries with chocolate. I'm not much of a chocolate fan, but this could be fun.
My wife and I are always watching the T.V reality shows about cooking and the contests. Now the reason I say this is because I always get it into my head that it would be awesome to do whisky & meal pairings. Something like you go to the distilleries in advance and you set up some sort of plan where you're able to pair a whisky with each dish you cook and the distillery gives you some sort of recognition.
I know it's crazy, but hey when I'm bored at work it's one of the many things I think about. So the idea of learning something about pairing whisky with any food sounded awesome.
So I promptly booked two spots in the tasting for my wife and myself.
Weeks drag by as we wait for the day of the whisky tastings to occur (busy busy week this week because a few days after this it's a series of Aussie whisky tastings!)
Finally the day arrives so my wife catches a ride to my job and waits until I'm off at which point we catch a ride from a taxi, with a very foul mouthed speed demon taxi driver, to the bar.
We arrive thirty minutes early and head upstairs to where the tasting is going to be, downstairs is packed. Upstairs is a very nice woman who will be running the whisky and chocolate tastings. She says that it'll be a little bit since we're early, but if we'd like to we can head downstairs and grab ourselves a drink then come on back up.
So we head down as I'm quite eager to try the George T. Stagg that I've heard so much about and purchase it. When I do the bartender lets me take a look at the bottle as we chat briefly about what an awesome whisky it is and that if I like it I should give the Sazerac Rye 25 yr old a try.
We head back upstairs to sit down and wait for the tasting to start, my wife and I chatting as we nose the Stagg. I plan on waiting until after the tasting before drinking it, but my wife makes the mistake of taking a sip at which point she gasps in awe.
I can't wait to taste the Stagg, but the tasting first!
Soon everyone has arrived and out comes the first taster!
Dalwhinnie 15 Yr old is the first whisky we're trying and it's being paired with honeycomb from the Margaret River Chocolate Factory.
My wife and I nose the whisky, which is served in a tulip shaped glass, and the first thing that hits our noses is sweetness.
It's the sweetness of honey and fruit. Hints of peaty smoke are in the background, but it never overpowers the fruit and honey. The fruit that stands out the most is pears, but it feels like there are a couple of other fruits in the background, but at this time I'm not able to pull them out.
We then take a sip. Now I've decided with all the pairings that I'm going to take a sip of the whisky normal, then try the whisky with the chocolate and see how they compare.
So my first sip of the whisky is nice, but it's not extremely complex. The honey stands out, as does the heather, the vanilla and pears. Now this might sound bad, but it works very well together and comes together for a long and lovely finish with hints of the peaty smoke and pears going all the way down.
But now to combine it with the honeycomb.
Here goes nothing, considering I don't care for honeycomb.
It explodes in my mouth PERFECTLY!
The honeycomb brings out the pears, the vanilla and it all combines with the honeycomb's toffee like consistency beautifully.
This is such a good combination that my wife and I make a note of it so that we can surprise a friend who loves honeycomb, but is just getting into whisky.
The whisky on its own is good. But not great.
I already told you my feelings about honeycomb, and actually most chocolate, which I don't really care for.
But together it's a beautiful blend. Neither overpowers one another, but instead work in harmony.
The score for just the Dalwhinnie 15 yr old is post below, but the score for the pairing of the Dalwhinnie and honeycomb is a resounding 93 on sheer awesomeness!
The Dalwhinnie is reasonably priced at around $70 AUS, but can be difficult to find from most chain liquor stores over here.
Next up will be the Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban paired with some lovely mint chocolate!