Every year, for the last 5 years, on New Years Eve we do a Whisky Chocolate Pairing. The process starts in November when we start looking around for interesting chocolates. When we have found some, we try to match the tasting notes of the chocolate with the tasting notes of the whisky.
The whisky choices are based on our shared and personal favourites. They are also whiskies that we tried during 2014. Same as last year, we end off with our Single Malt of the Year paired with something interesting. This year, we were lucky to find 2 interesting South African made chocolates that we paired with whisky.
Our Whisky Chocolate pairings for New Years Eve 2015 were…
Wemyss Sweet Mint Infusion & Anthon Berg Mint & Caramel choclate
First up was the Wemyss Sweet Mint Infusion paired with an Anthon Berg Mint & Caramel Fair trade dark chocolate. The Wemyss Sweet Mint Infusion is a 1991 distillation from the Aultmore Distillery. This 22-year-old single cask release is limited to only 354 bottles. Founded in 1884, Anthon Berg was originally a Danish green grocer who created a premium chocolate line. A nice combination, as the mint in the chocolate makes the mint in the Wemyss whisky more pronounced. This dark chocolate allows the whisky finish to go on for a very long time. It also highlights the smooth nature of this great whisky and allows the barley and toffee sweetness to show itself.
Three Ships 10 yo & Zanoni Dark & Coconut & Lime Choclate
Next up was our proudly South African, James Sedgwick Distillery release Three Ships 10 yo Single Malt whisky paired with a South African Zanoni Coconut & Lime Chocolate. This Wellington based whisky is one of our favourites and as this is not commercially available anymore, only taken out for special occasions. The coconut and lime in this chocolate allows the smoky nature of the Three Ships to come forward and enhances the oak and vanilla sweetness of this whisky. This combination just showed us again, whisky and dark chocolate are great partners.
Balvenie Roasted Malt & Anthon Berg Chili & Honey Almond Chocolate
The last Whisky of the Week whisky we tasted during 2014 was the Balvenie Roasted Malt . We rated this gently Speyside whisky as Excellent and picked up notes of caramel and roasted nuts. There are hints of oak and spices intermingling with vanilla. We decided to pair this whisky with the Anthon Berg Chili & Honey Almond fair trade Dark Chocolate. We could not pick up the chili in the chocolate, but the almond and honey made this great whisky even richer and smoother. The whisky allows the creamy nature of the chocolate to come through and it made for a nice whisky chocolate pairing. Definitely a chocolate whisky pairing we will try again during 2015.
Ardbeg Corryvreckan & Lindt Cranberry Intense
As the evening moved on, our second last whisky chocolate pairing is the Ardbeg Corryvreckan paired with the Lindt Cranberry Intense. The Corryvreckan was one of the 3 whiskies that we rated Divine during 2014 and one of Johns personal favourites. We had to find something intense enough to pair with this peaty Islay whisky. In the end we chose a fruit based chocolate. We had some reservations about this combination, but decided to give it a try. What an amazing combination. The tart sweetness of the cranberry smooths the medicinal notes and smoky peat of the whisky and makes the finish even richer. The peaty whisky makes this great dark chocolate even richer.
Glengoyne 21 yo & Ginger Lovers
Last but not least, our Single Malt of the Year 2015, the Glengoyne 21 yo. I paired it with a Ginger Lovers chewy ginger cube covered in dark chocolate from Just Ginger. A suggestion we got after doing some internet research This amazing undervalued distillery is situated in the Scottish Highlands but matured in the Lowlands. We were a little skeptic about this whisky chocolate pairing, but it blew us away. It was the best pairing of the evening and just amazing. The ginger enrich the spice and oak in the Glengoyne whisky. The Glengoyne softened the strong ginger notes in the chocolate and was just enriched by the dark chocolate.
2014 was an amazing year for us. We tasted and blogged about some magnificent whiskies. We were invited to partake in South Africa’s first online twitter whisky tasting hosted by WhiskyBrother. I tried some wonderful whisky cheese combinations. We spend a few great evenings with Andy Watts and the Three Ships Gourmet Dinner team. We made some great whisky friends and spend many a happy hour chatting about whisky. So at the start of the New Year and new adventures, we wish you all the best for 2015 and many happy drams.