Ducks And Whisky, A Great Combination
By now anyone who regularly reads my blog here will know that along with great whisky i have a love of great food so when i was invited by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) to attend the launch dinner at Ducks of Kilspindie who have recently became a partner bar of the SMWS i really wasnt going to refuse.
Ducks of Kilspindie is a hotel, restaurant and bistro based in the gorgeous village of Aberlady on Scotlands Golf Coast in East Lothian.
The Itinerary for the evening started with a welcome glass of bubbly followed by a couple of song introduction from SMWS panel lead and whisky folk singer Robin Laing. Robin Started with a couple of warm up stories that broke the ice before a couple of whisky songs.
We then proceeded through to the Green Room, an opulant dining room with a comfortable and relaxed feel, where we were seated and the evening began in earnest.
The whisky was presented by SMWS Ambassador Olaf Meier and the food by Malcolm Duck, the owner of Ducks of Kilspindie. Each course of the meal would be accompanied by one (or more) of the SMWS single cask bottlings, the whisky being selected by Olaf to match the stunning menu produced by Ducks of Kilspindie head chef Alessandro Grillo and his team.
The first Course (above) of Beetroot with Fennel, Smoked Sweet Potato, Salsify and Marscapone was accompanied with a SMWS 84.15 "An apple a day..." an 11 year old Speyside bottled at 56.4% and with a refreshing apple tang to match the beetroot.
This dish was delicious and the flavours of the beetroot and sweet potato really worked well with the whisky.
The second course (above) and the one i was dreading (might be worth noting here that i don't eat seafood, i've never been keen on it and a fish bone incident almost 30 years ago mean i can count on one hand the amount of times i eaten seafood in the last 30 years) was Scallop Marinated in Coconut Milk, Jamaican Pepper on Banana and Turnip Marinated in Lime.
This was matched with the SMWS 37.54 "A Contradictory Dram" another from speyside this time a fair bit older at 27 Years Old and bottled at 52.4% ABV. This dram has a fruityness on the nose and a kick of pepper on the palate which worked well with the subtle flavours in the scallop without overpowering it.
The third course (above) was some deliciously pink Duck (there had to be some on the menu didnt there) and was Three Ducks: Plain, Orange and Orange and Red Onion Marmalade. This was paired with another Speysider this time the SMWS 72.23 "Complexity Well Beyond Its Age" which is a youngster at only 8 Years Old and was matured in a White Wine Hogshead.
I really don't know if it was the subtle creamy fruity nose and taste of the whisky, or the simple and exceptional duck but this was my favourite pairing of the evening. The plain duck stood up well with the fruit and cream of the whisky and the orange and orange and red onion marmalade combinations just extended the explosions of flavour in your mouth.
Not only would i love to have this again but i really need to get myself a bottle of this whisky.
The fourth, and main course, was split into 3 sections each one paired with a whisky. This first section (above)was Pork Fillet with Dijon Mustard, Toasted Bread Crumbs, Mixed Herbs, Turnip Chip and this was paired with another Speysider, this time the SMWS 36.60 "Highland Streams and Daisy Meadows" a 23 Year Old bottled at 52.2%.
The pork was cooked to perfection with the lovely pink meat and contrasting (both in terms of colour and texture) crumb coating. The whisky worked well with this, with the sherbet and lemon tangyness of the whisky contrasting nicely with the pork.
The next part of the the main course was Pan Fried Salmon, Oak Leaf Sauce matched with a SMWS 53.179 "Jelly-Fish On The Rocks" a 20 Year Old Islay at 56.3%. This was again more seafood that i struggled with but i did find it very light and subtle in flavour, which for me didnt work well with the powerful smoky whisky, this was probably my least favourite match, that said it's like saying my least favourite child.
This third part of the main course was a Cauliflower Souffle, Parmesen Fondue matched with SMWS 64.3 "Custard Creams and Kentucky Staves" the oldest whisky of the evening being a 30 year old grain bottled at 54.5%. I really enjoyed this dish, but then i am a huge fan of cauliflower, and the grain whisky was subtle and vanillad with a touch of custard and it went well with the cauliflower.
The Dessert was in two parts both paired with SMWS 58.14 "Ye Olde Sweetie Shoppe" another Speysider, this time aged 23 Years and bottled at 57.8%. The dessert was Chocolate Souffle, Orange Anglaise Cream, the souffle part shown above and the Orange Anglaise Cream and the gorgeous little nut wafer shown below.
The SMWS 58.14 worked really well with the chocolate and sauce shown here and give it an additional sweetness against the bitterness of the dark chocolate in the Souffle.
The Orange Anglaise Cream was nice with the SMWS 58.14 but it really came into it's own when paired with the SMWS G4.3 (the grain cask) which really worked well with this and the flavours simply popped in your mouth.
Next was a round of coffees accompanied by a SMWS 29.128 "Deep Dark and Hugely Entertaining" a 21 Year Old Sherried Islay bottled at 58.8% and working perfectly with the bitterness of the coffee to round off a fantastic meal.
Robin came back out for another set of his fantastic music and comedy and rounded off the evening on a high.
If you are looking for somewhere in East Lothian to eat, or to stay for a break then i would highly recommend Ducks of Kilspindie, Malcolm and his team are brilliant and will do everything to make your visit or stay pleasant.
Robin Laing is a fantastic performer and entertainer as well as being highly knowledgable with whisky, go tohis site buy a CD, open a bottle of Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) whisky, sit back anf relax.
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) bottle an amazing range of whiskies, and i would highly recommend joining and reaping the benefits of membership. If you're unsure, why not pop to Ducks of Kilspindie and try some for yourself.