Which single malt whiskies pair with these six Scottish delicacies?
From Cranachan to Cullen Skink, we’ve matched a half-dozen national dishes with The GlenDronach’s most palatable, mouth-watering whiskies…
In Scotland, banquets are a big deal. For this is a nation of gourmands and gastronomes — of party-throwers and plate-cleaners. And, from the Southern Uplands to the Islands of Orkney, feasting always comes first. In fact, the Scottish Gaelic language has well over a dozen different words to describe these lavish dinners and large social, celebratory meals.
There’s ‘ròic’, ’sèib’, ‘fleadh’ and ‘feusta’ — all indicating such indulgent spreads. But some words are more specific. An ‘eangla’ is an anniversary feast. A ‘bangaid’ is thrown to celebrate the birth of a child. A ‘cùilegagan’ is a more intimate affair, a ‘banais’ is a wedding banquet and a ‘féill’ is a feast eaten on a holy day.
Then comes the ‘cuirm’. It may be the most unassuming word of the bacchanalian bunch, but it’s a versatile term; and one that can be applied across the tablescape. But, from dinner parties to picnics, just one epicurean element is needed to qualify as a ‘cuirm’: the serving of spirited brews and whiskies alongside any food.
Thankfully, Scotland has its fair share of good drinks, too. But, whilst Scotch ales and tonic wines are all well and good, whisky should be the order of any self-respecting reveller. So, to celebrate single malts and Scottish tradition, we’ve partnered with The GlenDronach to discover which half-dozen national dishes pair best with different whiskies…
The GlenDronach ‘Original’ 12-Year-Old pairs with Cullen Skink
What’s the food? It’s a soup; the ideal starter. But this is no ordinary chowder. Originating from a small village on the North Sea coast, it’s a smoky bowlful of haddock, potatoes, onion and milk. Flavourful and peppery, it’s a belter of a broth.
And the whisky? A sherried single malt that forms the cornerstone of The GlenDronach’s core range. On the nose, you’ll discover cereals, cinnamon and caramelised sugar — with notes of smoky toffee and peanut brittle.
Why does it work? Because both rely on subtle smokiness and a creamy texture. The lighter, sweeter whisky cuts through a soup brimming with dairy, its fruitiness enhances the fish and its smoke is echoed in the haddock.
The GlenDronach ‘Original’ 12-Year-Old
The GlenDronach ’Revival’ 15-Year-Old pairs with Smoked Salmon
What’s the food? A delicacy the world over, but one with its origins in Scotland. Perhaps the finest cuts — briny and buttery in equal sea-soaked measure — can be found on the tiny Outer Hebridean island of North Uist.
And the whisky? The recently revived 15-Year-Old from The GlenDronach. Aromatic and complex, you’ll get oily walnuts on the palate — and a fragrant finish of freshly-grated ginger, liquorice and waxed orange peels.
Why does it work? Another faint puff of smoke works to tease hidden flavours from the salmon, including coffee beans and even mint. Both harbour coastal influences, and the brown sugar notes of the spirit temper any of the salmon’s residual bitterness.
The GlenDronach ‘Revival’ 15-Year-Old
The GlenDronach ’Allardice’ 18-Year-Old pairs with Haggis, Neeps & Tatties
What’s the food? Perhaps the definitive dish of Scotland. Haggis, the savoury pudding stuffed with oatmeal and sheep’s pluck, served with neeps and tatties (a swede and potato mash) — and lashings of whisky sauce.
And the whisky? We’d opt for ’Allardice’, the 18-Year-Old core expression from The GlenDronach. Expect a rich, Christmas cake mouthfeel, and chewy flavours including rum-soaked raisins, pineapple and brown sugar.
Why does it work? Because, despite tasting slightly tropical, the whisky’s sheer sweetness works to offset the gaminess of the dish. Its pepperiness works with (and in) that spicy sauce, its single malt chimes with the oats in the haggis — and its subtle saltiness seasons your side dish. Perfect.
The GlenDronach ’Allardice’ 18-Year-Old
The GlenDronach ’Parliament’ 21-Year-Old pairs with Aberdeen Angus Steak
What’s the food? Another world-beating, meaty Scottish export. Native to the North East of the country, this breed of cattle yields cuts with exquisite marbling, unrivalled juiciness and a hint of sweetness imparted by the rich grasslands.
And the whisky? ‘Parliament’, a 21-Year-Old expression named for the flocks of rooks that surround The GlenDronach’s Aberdeenshire distillery. It’s got a woody character; with tangy oak and toasted cedar notes.
Why does it work? For those sapid, savoury qualities. The smokiness of the spirit mimics the charring on the grilled steak — while the whisky’s sweeter qualities (flavours from caramel to cocoa) double-down on the meat’s innate richness.
The GlenDronach ’Parliament’ 21-Year-Old
The GlenDronach Port Wood pairs with Cranachan
What’s the food? A traditional Scottish celebration of the harvest. It’s a dessert that pairs cream and fresh raspberries with Scottish oats and honey. Usually self-assembled, no Cranachan is complete without a slug of whisky to soak those oats in.
And the whisky? As its name suggests, The GlenDronach’s Port Wood is packed with fruity flavours. Whether it’s the exotic dates, grapes and oranges — or the more suitably Scottish blackberries and apples — it’s a zesty, plummy delight.
Why does it work? All of those shared flavours. From honey and toasted nuts to blackberry and brown sugar, both are layered, sweet serves — and suitably celebratory ways to honour the peerless produce of Scotland.
The GlenDronach Port Wood
The GlenDronach Traditionally Peated pairs with Strathdon Blue Cheese
What’s the food? The finest, most mellow and creamy blue cheese churned north of the border. Produced in the burgh of Tain (another whisky-making stronghold), it’s unctuously crumbly, has shades of tarragon on the tongue, and is supremely salty (thanks to coast-grazing cows).
And the whisky? A heritage-heralding offering from The GlenDronach, harking back to a time when distillers would burn peat in the kiln towards the end of the barley malting. Think smoky oak, flamed orange zest and clove-infused treacle.
Why does it work? Because of the cheese’s creamy sweetness, which works perfectly to accentuate the pear notes and smoky flavour of the whisky. Together they tease out each other’s shades of spice, floral honey and barley sugar.
The GlenDronach Traditionally Peated
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