The Five YES of Whisky Pairing

1. The Dominant Umami

Along with sweet, sour, salty and bitter, umami is the fifth taste. Although it’s not discovered until modern times, this meat-like savoury taste has already rooted in food cultures across the globe. From Asian soy sauce, fish sauce, miso, dried shrimp, kombu and bonito, to Western tomatoes, cheese, anchovies and mushrooms, umami can make food much tastier. When a single umami matches with another umami, the chemical reaction will far exceed the summation of two.

The pairing of umami tastes can strengthen and highlight the sharp characters of whisky; whisky flavour can also amplify the umami. That’s why umami and whisky is a perfect match.

2. The Resonant Spiciness

Be it the dried fruits and chocolate flavours of sherry, or the toffee and vanilla notes of bourbon, its smooth sweetness can always balance with spices. Plus, both sherry and bourbon whisky will absorb the woody flavour from the casks while maturing. Thus whisky can pair with desserts with woody ingredients like cinnamon.

3. The All-purpose Starch

Whisky is made from grains and Scotch Whisky is made from malted barley. It has the sweet taste from malts, making it especially suitable to pair with grain products. As a neutral ingredient, starch can perfectly connect with other strong ingredients. Red meat, poultry or seafood can all pair with whisky through starch. When you pair whisky with starchy foods, just consider the category of main ingredients is enough, and pick the whisky by the rule of ‘strong with strong, mild with mild’.

4. The Pleasant Desserts

Sherry whisky has the dark chocolate sweetness, close to black forest cake, makes it the perfect match with chocolate; while a fresh bourbon whisky has mild vanilla and toffee flavours which easily resonate with dairy desserts such as cake and ice-cream.

5. From Beginning to End

In Chinese banquets, meat and vegetables won’t be served in a row. If we pair the meal with wines, we have to shift between red and white wines, until there is no room for glasses on the table. As for whisky which has balanced sherry and bourbon flavour, it has hardly any pairing taboo, be it appetisers or desserts. ‘The Singleton of Glen Ord 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky’ is the drink that can accompany you through the whole meal in Chinese banquets.