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Exploring whisky and food matching with our Brand Ambassador

Old Pulteney

31st December 2016

Whisky brand ambassador blog detail

Brand Ambassador, Lukasz Dynowiak, tells us everything we need to know about food matching drams of Old Pulteney whisky. 

What sparked your interest in matching whisky with food? 

Scotch whisky is probably the most flavoursome spirit in the world. The intensity of its character is unlike anything else and the flavours are unique. Typically we taste whisky on its own and I was firmly in that camp for a long time but the recent trend to match whisky and food highlighted something interesting. Great Scotch is not hidden or overpowered by food. Quite the opposite actually, a great food pairings may help to highlight some of your dram’s more subtle qualities.

On a very practical level, it creates a bit of theatre and context too. Some people find it easier to understand whisky and its flavour palette against the background of a great dinner. It’s become an important tool for us and this is how Old Pulteney is often best explained.

What guidance would you give someone if they were setting out to match food with Old Pulteney for the first time?

I’m happy to offer three simple pieces of advice to anyone looking to match Old Pulteney and food, I’m confident this will help you make a good start.

  • Consider main characteristics of your whisky. For me Old Pulteney 12 Years Old is darkly sweet, delicately fruity package with something savoury, salty perhaps, lurking in the background. It’s creamy and it has a lot of body.
  • Contrast or complement. That’s what most people will tell you. From my experience contrasting may give you a more dramatic result but it’s also easier to botch. Matching is safer and easier to understand. Old Pulteney 12 Years Old with salted caramel anyone?
  • Look for inspiration. Explore the Pulteney Pairings section of our website for inspiration if you get stuck. There is a range of pairings there, from a simple guide you can easily follow at home to some mouth-watering recipes prepared by a Michelin-star-winning chef Aiden Byrne.

This winter season what’s your top tips for matching food and whisky?

Again, have a look at the website, Aiden has some great tips.

Pair light with light and rich with rich. And of course the winter season is all about the rich. Chocolate, dried fruits, ripe cheeses, even Port wine – all these things make me think of mature whisky and European oak. So, I guess my tip would be to get the right whisky ready and waiting for all the wonderful food to come.

Old Pulteney 21 Years Old is the ultimate rich expression of The Maritime Malt, winter flavour distilled. It will definitely hit the spot whether you have heavy duck pate, stilton or dark chocolate to hand.

In the role of Brand Ambassador, you spend a lot of time travelling the world, have you come across any particularly unusual whisky and food pairings?

I think what we used to consider unusual has become almost the norm in recent years! I like Russian zakuski or snacks which typically include cured meats and pickles. Surprisingly good with great blended whisky.

Earlier this year I was treated to a fantastic whisky dinner in Turkey, including both local and international cuisine. The winner for me that night was a simple creamy risotto with smoked fish punctuated beautifully by sherried notes of Old Pulteney 21 Years Old. Unusual but so right! My colleague just told me about a seafood and whisky dinner he enjoyed in Southeast Asia, prepared by… a German chef. Clearly long gone are the days of only pairing whisky with haggis.

In your opinion, what do you think is the ultimate holiday season whisky and food match?

Only one? Not fair. At a party I’d pair our incredible Old Pulteney 1989, the best single malt of the year according to the jury at the prestigious World Whiskies Awards, with some beautifully mature gouda or cheddar. The more robust, salty and pungent the cheese the better. Think – salt crystals in the cheese meet the subtle veil of smoke and leathery/chocolaty maturity in the whisky. This will certainly cut through the noise. Also, cheese is simple finger food, no prep and no hassle.

For a more relaxed, late night treat I may be brave enough to try to recreate Aiden Byrne’s chicken liver and wild sugar parfait with tobacco scented chocolate and spiced plum puree. I can’t even begin to describe how perfectly this matches our Old Pulteney 17 Years Old, one masterpiece meets another. I may have to simplify at home of course, not being a Michelin-starred chef and all.

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