Our whisky cheese pairing experiments are enjoyable. We love hunting down interesting cheese and reading up on it and then try to find whisky that will work. It leads to a lot of failures. My database of what does not work, is bigger than the list of what works. But it does not matter. For each tasting, we sit down, have some laughs, try some whisky and just have fun. What better way to spend a late Saturday afternoon? On Friday I found a delicious looking Red Leicester at Checkers.
The bright red packaging immediately caught my attention. Red Leicester is an English cheese, made in a similar method than Cheddar cheese. It was originally made on farms in Leicestershire with milk that was surplus once all the Stilton desired was made. It was originally coloured with carrot or beetroot juice.
The Red Leicester is moister, crumblier texture and a milder flavour than cheddar. Nowadays it is coloured with a vegetable dye called annatto, which gives the cheese its distinctive deep-orange hue. It has a slight nutty taste with hints of burnt caramel. It is buttery smooth and very creamy.
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Red Leicester is a multipurpose cheese and is essentially a Cheddar alternative. It melts beautifully, adds colour to a cheese board and to sauces and makes a nice addition to salads.
Whisky & Red Leicester cheese pairing results
Tullibardine 225 Sauternes Cask Sinlge Malt
What a great pairing. The sweet fruity notes of the Sauternes Cask cuts through the creamy buttery taste of the Red Leicester. The cheese develops citrus fruit notes and the sweetness of the Tullibardine increases. The vanilla and spicy notes in the whisky is enhanced and the combination is delicious. We give this pairing a RATING 4/5.
Glenfarclas 12 yo Single Malt
An even better pairing. It seems like the sweeter whiskies compliment the Red Leicester well. The spice and sweetness balances perfectly in this pairing. The Glenfarclas becomes richer and the sherry and oak notes compliment the buttery cheese. The finish of the Glenfarclas 12 yo becomes even longer and you don’t want the taste to end. We give this pairing a RATING: 4,5 /5.
Macallan 15 yo Fine Oak
The Macallan was matured in a mix of sherry and bourbon casks which added a fruity sweetness to the whisky. This fruity Macallan sweetness paired nicely with the creamy Red Leicester and soothes out the spicy notes in the whisky. We give this pairing a RATING: 3,5/5.
Ardbeg Uigeadail & English Whisky Company Chapter 6
We also paired the Red Leicester with a Ardbeg Uigeadail and a English Whisky Company Chapter 6. I was hoping “what grows together goes together, but the Chapter 6 and the cheese does nothing for each other. It is not a bad pairing, but the sweeter whiskies complimented the cheese more. We gave the Red Leicester and English Whisky Company a Rating 3/5. The Ardbeg Uigeadail and cheese did not work for us at all. The peat overwhelmed the creamy cheese totally. We give it a Rating 2,5/5.
Our last 2 whisky cheese pairings were disastrous. We tried to pair a Monterrey Jack with some Bourbon. It did not work. But I will keep on trying this cheese with whisky. Before that, we tried to pair an Emmental cheese with a variety of whisky. That was a big disaster. I actually decided that Emmental cheese should not be paired with whisky at all.
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