Oysters & Whisky; a surprising combination!

On July 15th, Red Oyster cooperated with SpiritsNetwork for their weekly #WhiskyWednesdays. Being an experienced Oystertainer I paired oysters with wines, champagne, beer, and gin. But whisky & oysters were new to me and I was excited to do the pairing; oysters and whisky are a surprising combination!
 
For the Whisky Tasting we were given three bottles of Talisker whisky to pair with three different East coast oysters.  Talisker Whiskey is from Scotland and we tasted the Talisker 10-year, Talisker 18-year and Talisker Storm.
 
During the tasting I came to understand that, especially with Talisker, there was already an intense brine. We were looking to pair oysters that weren’t particularly briny and had higher fat and sugar content.
 
1. I found the Talisker 10-year to be full and rich, with dried-fruit sweetness and a little smoky.
 
I paired this whisky with Raspberry Point Oysters from Prince Edward Island, Canada. These oysters had a particularly gentle brine with a sweeter finish, so the brine of the whisky complimented the oyster versus having two briny elements striking the nerve receptors. The sweetness in both the oyster and whisky made for a delicious finish. There was a twist to this tasting, instead of having the whisky straight we “spritzed” the oyster with the 10-year in order to have the whisky be a little bit more generous—almost like putting a small splash of lukewarm water in the whisky. 
 
2. For our next whisky, I found the 18-year to be sweet in the front, with more smokiness and notes of toffee—the finish offered stable notes of chili.
 
I paired this whisky with Mystic Oysters from Noank, CT. These oysters had a smilier brine to the Raspberry Points but weren’t quite as sweet. The whisky’s sweetness melted nicely with the oysters, that were also very crisp and had an almost flinty finish. This time we drank the whisky straight along side eating the oysters.
 
3. For the last pairing we did something extra special! I found the Talisker Storm very spicy, sweet with a nutty smokiness. It was to go perfectly with Red Oyster USA’s Chipotle Bourbon Butter recipe; we took Talisker Storm and mixed it with chopped chipotle, minced garlic, honey and butter. For this pairing we took Duxbury Oysters from Duxbury, MA (Plump meat, very briny with a sweet buttery finish), put some of the Chipotle Whisky Butter on the shucked oysters, then put them into the oven for the butter to melt and glaze the oysters. This pairing worked especially well because of all the sugar and the fat. The whisky didn’t strike the palette at all—it was soothed by the honey and butter. Plus, there was the added fat and sugar from the actual profile of the oyster.
 
This tasting experience was especially exciting because I had never paired oysters and whisky before. I learned so much about Talisker whisky and what kinds of oysters would  go best with it. I now love the idea of whisky and oysters being paired together. See the whole episode on Facebook: www.facebook.com/spiritsnetwork/posts.
 
Sidney Simone Boria
Oystertainer Red Oyster

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