Glenfiddich 21 Year Old Gran Reserva pairing with hand made bon bons by Chocolate Secrets

22 October 2015

This time last year, to inject even more creativity and flair into my Glenfiddich whisky tastings, I had the idea to make them more of a sensory experience by pairing them with food - more specifically, chocolate.

Dark chocolate and its varying cocoa contents is a classic Scotch whisky pairing.

With that in mind, I wanted to make sure my first event was unique. So, I contacted Chocolate Secrets, a family owned handmade chocolatier in Dallas, Texas, who make some of the most incredible chocolate products I have ever seen or tasted.

These guys whet appetites for a living:

“Each piece is a harmony of chocolate, artistry, flavour, tradition and innovation, using only the finest organic and natural ingredients”, said Dawn McDaniel, General Manager and chocolate aficionado at Chocolate Secrets.

Of course some thorough research was in order and I met chocolate experts, Dawn and Riley at the store. After a “gruelling” two and half hours meticulously tasting, savouring and pairing some of their extensive bonbon collections with various single malts from Glenfiddich’s range, we found just the right pairings for each expression.

From Vanilla Bean white chocolates paired with Glenfiddich The Original to Earl Grey dark chocolate with our 15 Year Old whisky, the pairings were beginning to come together.

There was however, a special importance granted to the pairing with Glenfiddich 21 Year Old, also known as our Gran Reserva Rum Cask Finish. Many a Glenfiddich tasting by our Ambassadors around the world has been concluded with this particular whisky and we needed to ensure an equally impressive finish when it came to the chocolate pairing.

The Gran Reserva Rum Cask Finish is a special whisky matured for a minimum of 21 Years in traditional Bourbon barrels, then finished for a further four months in rum casks. This whisky offers up a new challenge in pairing with the bonbons due to its additional layers of complexity of Caribbean flavours and influences.

A delicate, silky and luxurious dram, displaying hints of fig, brown sugar and a touch of ginger spice, the task was to prove monumental to find its ideal pairing. Finally, and with unanimous approval by the tasting team, we found the finest pairing (that was possibly my favourite in the entire store and one of the finest in the collection), the brown butter caramel.

The brown butter caramel is a creamy butterscotch caramel made with brown butter. The silky butterscotch caramel balanced elegantly with the hint of ginger spice that appears mid palate from the 21 Year Old. This whisky is so easy to drink it would be difficult not to enjoy in any setting, but the silkiness of this rare whisky played along wonderfully with the rich sweetness of the brown butter caramel, a truly sensational pairing session and I’d have to admit, not a bad day at “the office” either!

If you don’t manage to join me for one of my tastings, please try our 21 Year Old or any of our other expressions with a few chunks of good quality dark chocolate at home. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Let me know how you enjoyed it on Twitter, @GlenfiddichDA.

David Allardice

Central USA Glenfiddich Ambassador