A French Connection 

Let me introduce you to the rich amber Captain’s Reserve, one of the recent expressions of The Glenlivet single malt whisky, selectively finished in Cognac casks. This particular expression is named after Captain William Smith Grant, who was the great grandson of George Smith, the original founder of the The Glenlivet. Captain William fought in the First World War in France and later took part in the battle against Prohibition and led the Single Malt Scotch Whisky revival in the UK and the US.  As I had the honour of creating a Finger Food menu to pair with Captain’s Reserve as well as a regional menu for the key global markets, I not only had to break down the flavours in this unique spirit but I had a whisky with a history of war and courage.  I was conscious that I should reflect that in the food I chose to pair with it.  These are aromas and flavours that tingled my nose and palate:

sweet fruity notes of apricot, apple and pear, vanilla, cinnamon, honey and a hint of liquorice

 bursting with apricot and pear, jaggery, ginger, raisins, roasted nut and oak and a hint of orange. 

smooth and silky, lingering and seductive.

As you can see, I had an interesting framework of flavours to enhance and contrast in order to extend the luxurious finish of the whisky.  So I had a bit of fun tasting and testing and came up with a few ideas to reflect the Cognac finish and the classic Speyside malt.  This is the menu I produced for the Finger Food at the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

It was great to get some good feedback from some international guests and press at the Festival:

“I am in heaven – such an explosion of flavours – what a fabulous food pairing with the whisky”

“Loved the progression of flavours – you have taken us on a memorable journey of tastes – especially the venison and pickled grapes”

“Apricot was a real “taste bomb”

And thank you @scotslarder for this lovely review of a Captain’s Reserve evening in my whisky barn http://scotslarder.co.uk/whisky-spice-glenlivet-ghillie/

Here are some photos from the professional shoot with award-winning photographer Jade Nina Sarkhel @jadesarkhel and food stylist Rukmini Lyer @missminifer as well as some slate layouts from the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.