The Balvenie and the dessert smörgåsbord
Not too long ago I was gifted a beautiful bottle of The Balvenie 14 years old Caribbean Cask whisky. Obviously I was very keen to know whether this whiskey would go well with food and so I reached out to the one and only James Roberts, The Balvenie's Distillery Brand Ambassador, and he advised me to actually try it with desserts. Now if you know anything about me, you know I love a good challenge and so I decided not to get one single dessert because that is for amateurs!
I went for a wide selection.
A smörgåsbord of desserts
On my desert tray you will find the following delicious and delectable desserts:
Three types of cheese - Saint Paulin, Cheddar and Manchego
Jules Destrooper Almond thins topped with Blue D'Avergne cheese and dried figs
Gü Chocolate and Salted Caramel cheesecake
Before we start
The Balvenie 14 years old Caribbean Cask is a Speyside whisky which was aged on Oak casks before being put down to finish in casks which held Caribbean Rum. On the nose you can catch those typical notes of tropical fruit, some citrus as well as a little bit of toffee. Sip it and you do get that beautiful burst of vanilla with a balanced flavour of tropical fruit. It has a good decent finish and I would just say that on its own, without any food, this is a brilliant whisky.
Let's start tasting!
I started out with the cheeses because I knew the crème brûlée and chocolate cheesecake would probably be overpowering in taste and boy was I happy I did.
I am glad I started with this cheese because I was slightly disappointed from the get go. I had hoped for a flavour explosion but it was mostly a bland, dry, maybe even a little grainy flavour combination. The whole thing was a bit strange, the cheese tasted a little waxy and yes, there was that hint of apples in the background but this cheese does not do justice to the Balvenie whisky!
Rating: 3 out of 10
Cheddar A beautiful English cheese, a little orange but with a lovely sharp flavour. It’s incredibly creamy and the saltiness complements the whisky perfectly. After a while I get a mouth full of salted caramel and spices. Very nice and easy going, good companion for the night if you need it.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Manchego This Spanish sheep's cheese is one of my personal favourites. It’s a little oily, and nice and buttery. It’s quite a sturdy cheese and I always slice it up quite thinly because it can be quite intense. The combination with the whisky brings out a lot of wood and breaded flavours. As if I am eating a pretzel but after a second sip I get a mouth full of “Dutch Stroop”, which somewhat tastes like treacle. Definitely intensifies the flavours.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Jules Destrooper almond thins topped with Bleu D'Auvergne cheese and dried figs
I was rooting for this to be my absolute favourite of the pairings because I absolutely love this snack. The combination of the saltiness of the cheese, the spices of the almond thins and the stickiness of the figs does not disappoint though. Combined with the whisky I taste a lot of pear and grapes, even some passionfruit with a nice dose of cinnamon.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Crème brûlée This just knocked me off my feet. The combination of the intense vanilla dessert and caramel topping with the Balvenie was heaven. Just perfection. It was a delicious bite of cotton candy and nutmeg, drizzled over with butterscotch and a candied apple finish. I’ll be having seconds, for sure.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Gü Chocolate and Salted Caramel cheesecake
Best choice I made was to save this bad boy till the end because sweet baby jesus, this dessert packs a punch. If you think cheesecakes are light, think again because this is intense. A few bites in I finally take a sip of the whisky and I have a nice, heavy oak flavour. Dark, rich and now it really reminds me of rums I’ve tasted in the past. Really full bodied with some roasted coffee beans in there. Definitely a nice choice.
Rating 8 out of 10
On its own, The Balvenie 14 years old Caribbean Cask is an absolute gem of a whisky. It’s easy enough for an inexperienced whisky drinker to try and challenging enough for the rest of us to enjoy as well. Combined with the desserts, it does give it that extra oomph that I like so much.
The winner for me was the Crème brûlée, which I wasn’t expecting, but it was just such a perfect match, there was no competition in the end.
I thoroughly enjoyed putting this tasting together and thanks again to James for the suggestion!!
Till next time!