SMWS and The Whisky Lounge Present Edinburgh Whisky Festival

The Whisky Lounge I count myself very lucky when it comes to whisky and whisky events, as a "blogger" i get invited to lots of really interesting events as well as occasionally being offered some nice drams to sample. This post is about one such occasion when last night I was invited to attend the launch party for The Whisky Lounge and Scotch Malt Whisky Society collaberated Edinburgh Whisky Festival.

This first Scottish festival held by The Whisky Lounge will take place on Saturday 27th April 2013 at The Hub 348-350 Castlehill, Edinburgh and with a great range of exhibitors already signed up to appear it looks likely to be a fantastic day.

Edinburgh Today
Edinburgh Today, With some Snow Clouds

I'm going to start here by apologising for the lack of pictures, i'd forgotton my camera and the mobile phone images are awful, so next time i promise. The evening started with a glass of fizz then was introduced by Eddie Ludlow from The Whisky Lounge who talked about the background to the Edinburgh Whisky Festival and that one of the masterclasses would be a Food and Whisky pairing between Morrison Bowmore's Rachel Barrie and renowned chef Mark Greenaway.

Mark then talked for a short time about partnership and that it would be about all senses, Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight and Sound and that Rachel and himself would be working on a unique experience for the Edinburgh Whisky Festival so if you're intending on going i'd suggest you make sure you catch this masterclass.

Next up for us was Rachel Barrie with a fun whisky and food pairing which was fantastic to witness. Rachel really does love her job, and whisky, and it shows with her enthusiasm and enjoyment as she talked us through the first 3 pairings of the evening which were:-

Auchentoshan Three Wood with Handmade Dark Chocolate
Glen Garioch 12 Year Old with AOC Comte Cheese
Bowmore 12 Year Old with Smoked Salmon

Rachel's way of explaining the flavours, whislt sometimes this could almost be called ecentric, was brilliant and very accurate, the flavour pairings working really well with the food which brings out completely another side to the whisky and really showcases the flavours well.

Next up it was time for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society to show off some of their experience in matching food and whisky, something that has been happening at Society venues for over 20 years.

The society bottlings were pared with some Canap├ęs expertly made in the society kitchens by chef Mark Greenaway with the order being:-

Smoked haddock tartare on rye toasts matched with society bottling 4.173 "Dappled smoke, meringues and macaroons" a 23year old island mlt at 52%. For me this worked really well, as many will know already i'm not a huge fan of seafood but i ate this and found it to be very pleasant with the heather honey and butterscotch in the whisky working well with the slight smokyness of the haddock.

Next was Ballontine of rabbit with compressed apple and celery radish matched with 41.56 "rabbit in soured cream sauce" a Speysider aged 24years and at 51.9%. The lovely caramel and white chocolate notes in the whisky entwined with the delicious rabbit dish was fantastic and probably my favourite pairing on the evening, for me it worked fantastically well.

Then onto some Rare Venison loin with beetroot, creme fraiche and prune compote which was paired with 78.40 "Tantalisingly sweet and savoury" a highland malt aged 16 years and bottled at 55.1% this whisky was devine and the cake and apple notes worked wonders with the venison really opening up. This pairing was only slightly pipped by the Rabbit as my favourite of the night.

Time for some smoky whisky as the next pairing was Strathdon Blue and Leek fritter with roast walnuts and 127.31 "Rite of Passage" a 10 year old Islay dram at a whopping 64.2%. The smoke from the whisky was brought into line and tamed by the cheese in the fritter and the leek worked wonderfully with the roast vegetable notes within the whisky.

Last but not least, and my favourite single food dish, was Treacle ginger orange fudge with whisky soaked raisins matched with 35.86 "Sumptous breakfast dram" an 11 year old fruity speysider at 59.3%. The mix of fruity sweet whisky and fruity sweet fudge was to die for, and the extra spicy, cinnamon notes in the whisky really worked well with the fudge which i really had to try hard not to steal from everyone else.

Overall once again i've been really impressed with just how well whisky and food go together and I really do need to do more research into food and whisky.

In the meantime if you want to try some fantastic food and whisky pairing why not try the Dining Room at Queen Street, run by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society this really does showcase some of the best whisky and food pairings out there and i hope to see you at Edinburgh Whisky Festival, i have my ticket and will be front of the queue for the masterclass with Mark and Rachel.