Valentines Day is over, which means that anything in a heart shaped box is 50% off. It’s not just drugstore chocolate, higher end chocolatiers like Godiva share this phenomenon. I never understood why you wouldn’t just buy what you wanted on the 15th, but perhaps I am not a romantic at heart. What I am, however, is a fan of chocolate and whisky together. While single malt scotches aren’t an obvious pairing, they are an interesting one.
Glenmorangie is one of the best pairings for chocolate. The two expressions I’ve tried, the Quinta Ruban and the Nectar D’Or are finished in port pipes and sauternes casks respectively. The scotch is initially aged for 10 years in American White Oak casks, then “finished” or left to mature further in another container for an additional 2 years. The second container previously held another alcohol, and the liquor that bled into the wood lends its flavor to the scotch. The Quinta Ruban has distinct port notes, sweet and thick with dried fruits. The Nectar D’Or tastes like a honeyed dessert wine. Both bear the citrus and spice notes that are distinctive of the brand. Both are worthy pairings, and preference is dependant on what you usually like to drink with your dessert. Are you a port or a white wine drinker?
You could also, like me, be neither. You might also, like me, prefer salt on your dark chocolate and stronger savory flavors. If that is true, then I suggest my favorite pairing with chocolate: Lagavulin 16. One of the best malts Islay has to offer, it has a strong iodine and smoke presence, but it’s tempered with vanilla and a mild, creamy sweetness. The finish is long and peppery.
Admittedly I like dark chocolate, but Lagavulin really shines with milk or white chocolate. Something about the cloying sweetness being cut by the smoke and salt makes it a beautiful pairing. While it may sound initially odd, when you see artisanal chocolates, what are the predominant flavors? Offerings usually include chocolate and chili peppers, chocolate and spice, and the aforementioned chocolate and sea salt. Mast Brothers has a vanilla and smoke chocolate bar that has gotten rave reviews. So I say invest in a good whisky, a box of discounted chocolate, and enjoy yourself.
Article by Adrienne Bardes