If you have read my first post with the same title, by now you are aware that this post has nothing to do with corny things or love matches. In case you have missed out on that you may read it here: http://eatsiprepeat.com/made-for-each-other-i/. In my second post under this title I am going to write about another one of my favourite pairings.
Knob Creek Small Batch 100 Proof Bourbon Whiskey with Alluvia 100% dark chocolate
Although I simply chanced upon it, I later discovered that the combination I wrote about in my previous post was a tried and tested one. Blue cheese indeed pairs very well with heavily smoked Islay single malt whiskies. This one however, was a pairing based completely on my intuition, as a result of which the satisfaction derived this time round was much more.
Unfortunately American whiskies except Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 and Jim Beam are quite difficult to get hold of here in Kolkata which is why I seldom get my hands on quality Bourbon. Earlier this year, while on transit I picked up a bottle of Knob Creek Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey from a duty free store in the Bangkok airport. I had of course read about it before and it had featured on my must try list for quite some time. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed at all.
Knob Creek is produced by Beam Suntory in the Jim Beam distillery in Clermont, Kentucky, USA. It is a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey which means that at least 51% of its mash must be made from corn. The Small Batch 100 Proof, the brand’s primary expression is bottled at 100 proof or 50% ABV or Alcohol by Volume which is higher than the requirement of at least 80 proof or 40% ABV. Of course, at 100 proof it does retain a lot of fieriness but make no mistake it does carry big, bold and traditional flavours and is surprisingly easy to sip. I sensed some nutty and woody aromas in this beautiful amber coloured whiskey. After taking a sip the rich sweetness hit me immediately followed by generous hit of oak and some spiciness. Despite its heat it has a long and smooth finish leaving a warm feeling down the back of the mouth.
The 100% dark chocolate which goes by the brand name Alluvia originates in Vietnam and how could I not pick up a 100% dark when I spotted one. It is almost devoid of any creaminess and has an extremely rich earthy flavour profile.
Having tasted both elements of my pairing on two separate evenings one evening I suddenly hit upon the idea of combining the two. So I invited my younger brother to join me and I poured ourselves a drink each of the Knob Creek and broke out a few chunks of the 100% dark Alluvia. As is the norm for any pairing, the drink must be sipped first. I sipped on the bourbon and slowly let the warmth recede and then I bit into a chunk of the chocolate. The flavours of Knob Creek do linger on your palate for quite some time after you have swallowed it and that completely changed the flavours of the chocolate. They added to the richness and earthy notes and brought out more notes of cocoa and whiff of bitter coffee. After a while when I went back to the whiskey I was pleasantly surprised to note an enriched sweetness to it. The heat and spiciness were definitely more muted than before. With each sip and bite the entire experience only got richer and richer. Thus I continued with the entire process of eating, sipping and repeating until there were no more eats and sips to be repeated and the memorable evening drew to a close.
I know the 100% dark chocolate is probably not everyone’s cup of tea or bite of chocolate but if paired right it can work very well with whiskies similar to Knob Creek Small Batch. One may even consider pairing it with some VSOP brandy or cognac. That reminds me, I do have some of that chocolate left. It is perhaps time to get myself a brandy. You are welcome to buy me one too.