Pairing chocolate and whisky with The Balvenie

When it comes to living a fashionable life, there’s much more to it than just the clothes. What you do, where you eat and what you drink are all important factors that make up a fabulous lifestyle. Recently, we were invited to a whisky and chocolate tasting with The Balvenie at NOLA. Both being big fans of chocolate and whisky, we couldn’t wait to indulge.

The Balvenie is a 125 year old distillery from the Highlands in Scotland, created by a family who built the distillery with only their hands and 120 pounds in their pocket. Fast forward a century and The Balvenie is one of the most prestigious scotch distilleries, creating bottles so exquisite some of the oldest age statements can set you back around $50,000.

The brand is all about bespoke craftsmanship, which stems from being the only distillery in Scotland to currently be creating whisky using the five traditional crafts. This value pairs perfectly with Adelaide’s own Steven Ter Horst, an innovative chocolatier who creates his truffles and sweets by hand.

The Balvenie Brand Ambassador Ross Blainy, NOLA co-owner Oliver Brown and Steven himself sat down recently to create four perfect chocolate pairings for four special whiskies.

The 12 y/o DoubleWood, aged in American oak ex-bourbon and Spanish oak ex-olorosso barrels, was paired with a lemon ganache made from lemons so local they came from Steven’s own front yard. This brought out a real citrus note in the whisky, which Ross told us is exactly what makes this whisky pair so well with meats like prosciutto.

For those who love rum, the 14 y/o Caribbean Cask has been aged in ex-rum casks, which adds to the whisky a bit of fruitiness and spiciness. The chocolate to compliment this was filled with a cardamom and blood orange jelly, which complimented the flavours added to the whisky from the rum cask.

The 17 y/o DoubleWood was our favourite pairing, matched with a delicate earl grey tea ganache. The soft, floral notes from the tea went surprisingly well with the honey-sweetness of the whisky, and balanced out some of the spicier notes on the finish.

Reaching the end of the tasting, we were met with the 21 y/o PortWood and a single cocoa bean encased in dark chocolate. Ross informed us that the richness of the aged whisky matched the richness of the cocoa bean, chocolately in flavour but without any hint of sweetness.

To finish, Ross gave us a piece of Steven’s honeycomb, made from actual honey. Tasting that and then going back through and taking a sip of each of the whiskies made us realise how many honey notes ran through each of the whiskies, something that The Balvenie is widely known for.

We also got a little sneak-peak of The Balvenie’s new peated whisky, only released last month. Triple cask, aged in ex-bouron, refill bourbon and olorosso barrels, it was a beautiful whisky that NOLA assured us they’ll be stocking as soon as some bottles become available in Australia!

If you’re keen to get along to one of these amazing whisky and food tastings, The Balvenie are planning their next Adelaide event in October sometime. If you can’t wait that long, NOLA regularly hold craft beer and whisky tasting events, which you can find out about on their website here.

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