Wherein I got to do a scotch tasting

At our latest Straightup KW, I was the taste host for “The Isles Have It”.

We came full circle this time – back to the KW Art Gallery and back to scotch. MamaPapa Catering provided fantastic food that was well-matched to my final selections:

  • Tasting #1: Tobermory 10, served with maple roasted walnuts with black pepper and orange salt. The nuts and salt brought out the nutty and spring mint taste of the scotch, with a bit of the sea creeping in on the finish.
  • Tasting #2: Ardbeg 10, served with panko crusted sea scallop with bacon shallot relish. Seriously, these two things are a culinary delight. The Ardbeg is fantastically balanced even though it’s the biggest peat going, and the scallops gave it a mellow sea salt, leather wonderful finish. There were also trout rillettes alongside. Taken all together, one of the best pairings ever.
  • Tasting #3: Highland Park 15, served with slow roasted pork belly with honey gastrique and cranberry fry bread with triple cream brie and apricot ginger chutney. Highland Park is famous for its heather honey smoke and the pork served it really well. Highland Park 12 is many a person’s standard scotch, so the 15 was an interesting step up on the palette – very alike, just more so.
  • Tasting #4: Bowmore Darkest 15, served with a dark chocolate ganoche wifth sea salt and a sprig of candied orange. And let me tell you, that orange/salt/choco combo send the Bowmore to new fruity depths. Especially the orange.

Alongside the tasting notes, I had a chance to tell a few tales about the Isles of Scotland where these whiskies came from. I think everyone enjoyed the legend of the Selkies (from the Orknies, where Highland Park is) – most likely cuz it’s about seduction, of course.

The gallery exhibit that we toured comprised of some interesting installations on loan from the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. Since many of the installations are to do with sound and light, the gallery itself was dark. I think the interrogation glass cube was the favourite, but there was also a cool lightbox presentation of bugs that caught my eye.

This was a great experience for me – I like scotch a lot, but I’m no professional, so the research and taste pairings were a lot of fun. I enjoyed the process of finding out more about the whiskies and the isles and the legends that go with them.