Single Malt Scotch Tasting & Food Pairing with David Blackmore

Glenmorangie Distillery
Glenmorangie Distillery

On Monday, December 6, 2010 Branches Catering will be serving up a Single Malt Scotch and Food Pairing with David Blackmore. The single malts will be from Glenmorangie. The name Glenmorangie  is believed to come from the Gaelic gleann mor na sith meaning “vale of tranquillity” . It is pronounced  glen-MOR- n-jee, with the stress on the ‘mor’ and rhyming with orangey.

Glenmorangie Distillery was founded in 1843 in Tain, Ross-shire  in the Scottish Highlands. Here, you will find the tallest malt whisky stills in Scotland (just an inch and three-quarters shy of 17 feet.) Glenmorangie’s esteemed single malts are matured in oak casks, and the distillation process is undertaken and perfected by a staff of 16, known as  “16 Men of Tain”.  The 16 Men of Tain are based on the popular Scottish legend that 16  Men of Tain took part in an epic battle that left only one man of  Tain standing. Of course, this happened after they perfected the distillation process. Today, The 16 Men of Tain religiously follow the tradition to make Glenmorangie Single Malt.

The key ingredient to Glenmorangie’s malt whisky is the water—the water comes from the Tarlogie Springs, which rise about a mile above the distillery.  These waters once fell as rain on the Hill of Tain, then filtered down through lime and sandstone rocks, gathering minerals on the way, before rising again at Tarlogie. It can take up to a hundred years for the falling rain to emerge as spring water. So precious is this source of water that Glenmorangie has acquired the entire catchment area of the spring, or some 650 acres.

Glenmorangie’s US Master Brand Ambassador, David Blackmore will be on hand to explain all about the distillery and lead an exciting tasting of award-winning single malts. David likes to tell his love of single malt scotch started on the day when he first walked through the doors of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Edinburgh. He was smitten and joined the club that very day. Within a month he was working for The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, becoming a member of the prestigious “Tasting Panel” responsible for selecting new casks for bottling. In 2004, he moved to London to become Assistant Manager and Whisky Tutor at the The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s London club room. During this time he chaired the SMWS tasting panel and had several “tasting notes” published.

In order to prepare for his role as the US Glenmorangie Brand Ambassador in New York City, he spent time working alongside the fabled 16 Men of Tain at the Glenmorangie distillery, Stuart Thomson at the Ardbeg Distillery and Graham Coull at Glen Moray. Since 2005, he has been sharing his knowledge on the delights of single malt scotch.

David will be on hand to dissuade the Scotch tasters of the notion that Scotch is too strong in both flavor and alcohol content to be consumed with a meal—even in Scotland there isn’t much of a tradition of drinking Scotch with dinner. Traditionally single malt Scotch is a delight usually served after dinner — and usually paired with a cigar—as pairing Scotch with food seems a bit of a challenge.

Challenge or not, Scotch can make excellent paring with meals. Here’s a helpful hint, serve your single malt neat, with the lightest splash of spring water. Toning down the alcohol this way allows the Scotch’s aromatic complexities to shine through and makes it easier to achieve a food and Scotch balance. Some things to take into consideration are the background nuances of the Scotch. Creamy, mature cheeses and rich cream dishes are rich enough to balance the alcohol.  Smoky flavors in the Scotch add another dimension to the richness and flavor of  salmon. Red meats, especially the gamy ones, or dishes like Lamb Chops with Coffee-Chocolate Sauce make great partners with Scotch. So does chocolate. The dark, rich espresso and chocolate flavors will match with similar flavors in the Scotch. For dessert you could continue the chocolate-coffee-Scotch theme or try a rich dessert such as Crème Brûlée.

The menu for the evening takes the above suggestions into account and will be starting with a selection of Scottish and English Cheese from an excellent local cheese shop, ‘Cheese on Main’ in Ocean Grove. Owner Susan Morris has searched and selected some choice cheeses that are guaranteed to pair beautifully with the evening’s Scotch tasting.

The first Scotch to be tasted on December 6th will be Glenmorangie The Original (10 Year Old). This is the velvety textured Scotch that most associate with Glenmorangie. The Original has delicate, honeyed overtones and a burst of citrus that softens into vanilla and almond flavors. There is just a touch of smokiness in the background to remind you of warm winter nights in front of the fire.

Branches’ chef will be pairing The Original with Crab Rangoon with Tamarind-Ginger Chutney. These delicious crispy dumplings filled with scallions & crab meat and the complex, tart citrusy chutney are designed to complement the Scotch. Scallops wrapped with bacon add a richness and a complimentary smoky quality while samplers of lobster and cream cappuccino will be rich enough to balance the alcohol and satify the diners.

The second single malt of the evening will bee Glenmorangie The Lasanta (Sherry Cask Finish). Glenmorangie Lasanta is an elegant and full-bodied single malt whisky that has been  matured in Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks after a minimum of 10 years in ex-bourbon casks.  This Scotch is  luscious, mouth-filling, with deep, enticing, sweet aromas of spiced orange and chocolate-covered hazelnuts. Any chocolate lover will instantly see why this single malt is a sure-fire favorite. It has the full, sweet flavors typical of Spanish sherry: oranges, sultanas, toffee, and walnuts. The satisfyingly long spiced orange and chocolate nut finish should pair beautifully with the menu’s offering of  Chicken Mole’ where the savory combination of chocolate and peanuts in mixed with fresh chilies and spices make for an enlightened pairing..

Once we’ve tried the Sherry cask can a Port cask be far behind? With Glenmorangie the  next scotch is a velvety-textured single malt transferred from the original ex-bourbon cask and then extra matured or “finished” in port pipes, shipped from the  wine estates of Portugal.

Glenmorangie The Quinta Ruban (Port Cask Finish)  is a voluptuously smooth complex balance of sweet and dry flavors. Oven-roasted Brussels Sprouts tossed with Garbanzo Beans, lemon and grated Parmesan will be the first pairing for this intriguing single malt’s balance of smooth velvet and crisp, cooling textures. The velvety Quinta Ruban offers a swathe of rich, dark chocolate nuttiness and sugar-coated crystallized orange segments countered by crisp mint chocolate. The chiffon-like texture and lingering chocolate notes should balance nicely with the second pairing, Entrecote of Beef rubbed with smoked paprika, served with creamy peppercorn sauce.

For Dessert, Branches will be pairing Glenmorangie The Nectar D’Or (Sauternes Cask Finish) with Crème Brûlée flame-torched in the room. The Sauternes wine barriques infuse the Scotch with the signature honey, citrus and spice aroma of the Sauternes dessert wine that lingers in the wooden casks. The Scotch takes on the pale, lemony, gold transparency and honeyed taste that inspired the name, Nectar D’Or.  This is a favorite sophisticated complex whisky and a perfect pairing for this sensuous custard.

With each whisky  exquisitely paired with a different course this should be a  delicious and luxurious Single Malt Scotch Whisky dinner experience. Signed bottles will be available at  the end of dinner for purchase.

On an interesting side note, Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky has become the first major single malt scotch brand to attain OU certification. Glenmorangie Original was kosher-certified by the Orthodox Union (OU), as has Glenmorangie Astar. Glenmorangie’s sister distillery, Ardbeg has also received OU Kosher certification for Ardbeg 10 yr old as well.

This pairing will take place at  7:00 PM Monday, December 6, 2010 at  Branches Catering, 123 Monmouth Road, West Long Branch, NJ 07764. The cost is $45 per person plus tax.   For more information or reservations, please call: 732.542.7790

MENU (stations)
A selection of Scottish and English Cheese from
‘Cheese on Main’ in Ocean Grove
Glenmorangie The Original (10 Yr)
Crab Rangoon with Tamarind-Ginger Chutney
Scallops wrapped with bacon
Samplers of Lobster Bisque ‘Cappuccino’
Glenmorangie The Lasanta (Sherry Cask Finish)
Chicken Mole’
Glenmorangie The Quinta Ruban (Port Cask Finish)
Entrecote of Beef rubbed with smoked paprika, served with creamy peppercorn sauce
Oven-roasted Brussels Sprouts tossed with Garbanzo Beans, lemon and grated Parmesan

Glenmorangie The Nectar D’Or (Sauternes Cask Finish)
Crème Brulee flame-torched in the room

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