Glenglassaugh Distillery has joined forces with the inaugural Cullen Skink World Championships to produce what is believed to be the world's most expensive bowl of the famous soup. A large measure of Revival - the first single malt Scotch whisky to be produced by the distillery in recent times - is a key ingredient in a pot of the delicacy being produced especially for this weekend's championships.
The whisky-laced version of Cullen Skink would normally cost Â£100 a bowl, but visitors to the competition on Sunday, July 22, will be able to taste it for free. Samples will be served up during the final round of the championships at the Cullen Bay Hotel, where chef Paul Buxton has worked with Glenglassaugh Distillery and local fish merchant Louie Paterson to create the perfect blend of smoked fish, potatoes, milk and malt.
Revival is the first single malt Scotch whisky to be produced by Glenglassaugh since it's reopening. The distillery, which lies just a few miles to the east of Cullen, recommenced production in 2009 after being mothballed for 22 years.
Mr Paterson marinated the haddock in Revival before smoking it in his 100-year-old kilns in his smokehouse at Cluny Fish, Buckie. It was then up to Paul to find just the right measure of the amber nectar to add to his own traditional Cullen Skink recipe.
Stuart Nickerson, managing director of Glenglassaugh Distillery, says everyone has been surprised by the results. "Malt whisky has been paired with everything from ice to Irn-Bru - we thought we had seen it all but combining it with milk and smoked fish is certainly a new one on us.
"Louie has done an excellent job in combining the sweet flavours of Glenglassaugh with the haddock and Paul has created a truly fantastic dish. Cullen Skink has so much history and heritage stretching back hundreds of years, which is a complete contrast to Revival, a dram which is young and just about to make its own mark on the world.
"As Glenglassaugh is Scotland's most coastal mainland distillery and is located only three miles outside Cullen, it's fitting that it should be used in one of the country's greatest seafood dishes."
The Cullen Skink World Championships is being organised by the Cullen Voluntary Tourist Initiative. Dozens of recipes have been entered, but only the six best recipes have made it to the final and chefs will have just one hour to produce their own version of the world famous Scots dish. The only rule is that the recipe must use local produce and smoked Scottish haddock - the rest is open to interpretation. The final dishes will go before a judging panel which includes Diana Baxter - a member of the famous Baxter's soup dynasty.
Simon Tucker, vice-chairman of the Cullen Voluntary Tourism Initiative, adds, "When we decided to make the Revival Cullen Skink we never wanted it to be a gimmick. The aim was always to create something which tasted fantastic, and I think we have been able to achieve that. We will be serving up bowls of the world's most expensive Cullen Skink on Sunday, and we hope that everyone who tries it, enjoys it.
"We have been delighted by the response to the championships, and we're looking forward to an influx of visitors this weekend. The championships celebrate Cullen Skink, but we hope that the event will also showcase Cullen as one of the best destinations for a seaside break in the UK."
Cooking in the final of the Cullen Skink World Championships starts at 10am on Sunday, with the winner announced about an hour later. The contest is being held as part of the Cullen Summer Festival, which runs from July 20-22. The event features fun for all ages, from a gala day to guided walks - the full programme is available at www.discovercullen.com along with further information on holidays in the local area.
For more information about Revival and the distillery's award-winning range of aged whiskies and younger spirit drinks, visit www.glenglassaugh.com