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pairing Talisker Distillery

Talisker Ten Year Old with Candela Bonbon and CAO Brazilia Lambada Cigar

piggy bankAs we approach this last month on the calendar, it seems a good time to reflect on the year that was.  While less financially shocking than 2008, the news still seems focused on fiscal uncertainty. Therefore it seems fitting that our pairing for December should offer some respite to those who have denied themselves some of life's luxuries this past year.  With this pairing we suggest that indulgence need not always be expensive and that value will forever remain in fashion.

talisker 10 200Our featured single malt is the Talisker Ten Year Old, so revered as to have its own cult following, yet so reasonably priced that one is surprised by the high quality of this young dram.  A medal winner in world wide whisky competitions year after year, this malt at $55.00 retail (USD) is a classic that is affordable for anyone's whisky cabinet.

The Talisker distillery is located on the shores of Loch Harport on the remote Isle of Skye within sight of the breathtaking  Cuillin Mountains.  Perhaps it was those peaks that inspired the name taken from the Norse "Thalas Gair" or sloping rock. 

Soft water flows across the volcanic rock of this island, contributing to Talisker's classic peppery flavor and big finish.  That water comes from the fourteen underground springs that rise from Hawk Hill near the distillery, an area that is home to Peregrines and other birds of prey.  Talisker is double distilled and matured in ex-bourbon American oak barrels to a superb balance of peat, sweetness and spice.  Heavily peated but not as strong as an Islay whisky, this dram is complex and multilayered with ripened fruit, and liquorice yet exhibiting a delicate brineyness.  It is silky and warming with a peppery finish that is the unmistakable house signature.  Talisker ranks at the top of our list of affordable luxuries.

candelaTalisker was quite easily paired to several Chuao confections, but our favorite match is with the CANDELA bonbon.  Macadamia nut praline is spiced up with smoky chipotle chilis then enrobed in rich dark chocolate.  The flavors of Candela not only enhance the whisky's characteristic pepper kick, but at the same time they accentuate the subtle sweetness of this elixir. 


cao brazilia lambadaWhile there are also numerous cigar matchups with the Talisker, the most interesting and least expensive pairing has to be the CAO Brazilia Lambada.  The exotic Brazilian wrapper is dark and earthy and reveals its flavors almost immediately. Think of a dark, rich Colombian coffee with bittersweet chocolate, and you will have described the essence of this cigar. The rich coffee flavors and creamy, mouth-coating smoke work to subtley mute the pepperiness of the Talisker, allowing the sweeter maltiness and spice notes to come forward. The cigar finishes with a vanilla and chocolate sweetness that is like dessert after a grand meal. So turn off the television, put on your favorite music then pour yourself a larger dram of the Talisker, and gather several Candela bonbons to enjoy with the Brazilia, because for ninety minutes you will be transported away from the daily routine and into a richly rewarding flavor experience that is at once, distracting and captivating. 

Sample our featured pairing this month with what is perhaps the finest luxury of all...a quiet moment of enjoyment and reflection as this year comes to an end.  







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