Today we drink anything and everything with food.Not a single eyebrow is raised when the dinner guest opens a can of banana/cactus flavoured cider to go with the lovingly cooked salmon on the table, but the poor whisky nerd finds the veritable smorgosbord of tapas and dishes a labyrinth which at any given time might present itself a lethal trap to the tastebuds. That is why I now have, as the responsible and caring whisky nerd I am, taken upon myself to like the Starship Enterprise boldly go where no man has gone before in order to try and find out what works together with whisky – and what doesn’t work at all… All of the tests have been conducted in the utmost scientific manner by yours truly and another designated test person (in this case The Husband, however it is slightly unsure if he will put up with this again) and are shamelessly subjective in assessment as well as grading.  

For this tasting I have chosen an assortment of the various delicacies which the average Swede devours on a Friday evening, and also chose to combine these with three common and much loved kind of whisky.  All of the whiskies as twelve years old and represent three different standard types of whisky: unpeated with sherry influences (Strathisla 12), unpeated with bourbon influences (Old Pulteney 12) and straightforward peated (Caol Ila 12). The snacks I have chosen are cheese doodles, sourcream and onion crisps and peanut rings. Lets go!

Whisky vs snacks - the final frontier?

Whisky vs snacks – the final frontier?

Strathisla 12

Cheese doodles:

Not a spot on combination but interestingly enough I find that the sherry sweetness becomes more evident, and almost bit fruitier too. The finish with the two together is not exactly a perfect fit, and here both the hubbie and I agreed.

3 av 5 rattmuffar.

Crisps:

Wow, this is really not very good… The one thing about the whisky that really was enhanced flavour-wise was oakiness and a little bit of bitterness. The finish becomes a little bit sultry, almost off in a sense. The husband found the combo to be fine, a little bit stale but surprisingly okay still.  

2 out of 5 points

Peanut rings:

Damn, this is a strange combo but honestly a bit yummy aswell in a weird way. No bitterness, no added sweetness. Rather some kind of acidity, perhaps? Well, why not? The hubbies spontaneous reaction was “uaaa – yuck!” and did not like it at all. He thought the flavour became stale and completely wrong,  kind of like wet hay.

3 or 1 out of 5 points

Old Pulteney 12

Cheese doodles:

This actually worked! “Much better”, yells the hubby happily! The flavoures works well together, strangely enough and the hubbie instantly grabs some more cheese doodles in order to have another go. The saltiness from the cheese doodles harmonises with the robust character of the whisky, and the whisky rises to the challenge, so to speak. The husband dips a third round of doodles in the glass and munches joyfully.

5 out of 5 points

Crisps:

First the whisky becomes really sweet, then really oaky instead. It feels like the crisps win the final battle of the pallet. A small off tast in the finish with a lot of pepperiness and nothing I would recommend, but not a complete disaster either.

2 out of 5 points

Peanut rings:

Well, so and so. Not exactly top notch. I don’t know what tasted combined but it sure wasn’t good. The hubbie experiences the same traumatic taste sensation as with the Strathisla, and I am inclined to acree with him. Perhaps peanuts and whisky is a match made in hell?

1 or 2 out of 5 points

Caol Ila 12

Ostbågar:

Yuck!! Or… wait, maybe? “Damn, I really like this” the husband exclaims, and after a while I see what he means. It actually tastes like the kind of smoked cheese you buy at the supermarked. Nothing you eat heaps of but it worked a lot better than I originally thought. The hubbie chooses to dip cheese doodles in this whisky too.  

4 out of 5 points

Crisps:

Hey, not so bad actually! I was a bit apprehensive first but my fears were in vain. The crisps didn’t have much to say in this flavour fight and the spices didn’t clash with the peat and smokiness. A bit unexpected but absolutely passing grades for this combo. Works well, the hubbie remarks.

3 or 4 out of 5 points

Peanut rings:

This combo I actually like, I’m a bit ashamed to admit. The staleness that the peanut rings bring kind of works with the leathery smokyness of the whisky and a kind of salmiak-tasting off-flavour is created which I buy. The husband finds the stale “church bench-flavour” in this whisky-peanut combo aswell but agrees that it works better here than with the previous two.

2 or 3 out of 5 points

Naughty!

Naughty!

So what if I were to try and sum up this tasting to all you snacks loving whisky nerds out there?  The flavoured crisps were not really a great whisky snack in any of the cases and got in total 8 to 9 points. It would probably have worked better if the crisps were plain, salted ones instead, but it was important to the validity of the test results that I used the most popular crisp flavour. If one must drink whisky to sourcream and onion crisps it should therefore be some kind of peaty whisky, I dare to conclude. Concerning the peanut rings, it’s… difficult. Difficult to like, difficult to combine. With only 8 points this snack loses the silver medal to the crisps with only a hair. Funnily enough I’m not a fan of this snack in general, but found it to work better together with the whisky then my husband. Would I recommend it then? No. Hell no. FInally, the test winner. Here I have to conclude that the cheese doodles with their 12 points whopped the ass of the other contestants. Cheese doodles and whisky are good together. So, if you are going to have Jim Murray or any other whisky connoisseur over for a dram and snacks a Friday evening in front of the telly – buy a bag of cheese doodles and be happy. You have done everything in your power to flavour match the dram with snacks.

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