International Whisk(e)y Day was first announced in 2008 and falls on 27 March each year. The name is used with the parenthesis to indicate support of Scottish, Canadian, and Japanese whiskies (no e) as well as Irish and American whiskeys (with an e). International Whiskey Day was launched in 2009 at the Whiskey Day Festival in the northern Netherlands in the presence of several whiskey writers. The event was created in honor of British writer Michael Jackson and is celebrated on Jackson’s birthday. Participants are encouraged to raise one up on the day and drink whiskey for the love of the drink as well as to celebrate Michael’s life. Various bars may have specials on 27 March to celebrate the day.
Wednesday Night in honor of International Whisk(e)y Day, The French Cheese Board did it again and hosted another closed event bringing four great Ardbeg Whisky and French cheese pairings. The opening one was Beaufort and Camembert paired with Ardbeg Ten Years Old. Second we moved to Bleu des Causses & Secret de Compostelle with the Ardbeg An Oa. The second half of our tasting started with Cantelet & Pont L’Eveque which matched so nicely with Ardbeg Uigeadail, finishing with Le Pico & Delice de Bourgogne with Ardbeg Corryvreckan.
This was my first experience with Ardbeg but I can guarantee it will not be my last. The event was a big success as both the whisky and cheeses hit the spot. All guests enjoyed excellent pairings and were also invited to try the Ardbeg Drum Committee Release.
|Beaufort and Camembert||Ardbeg Ten Years Old||Richer and creamier than Emmental, Beaufort has a flowery, herbal aroma and a sharp flavor. Great on a grilled cheese sandwich or in fondue.
Camembert is buttery with notes of mushroom on the back end that compliments the Ardbeg 10 Years Old. This whisky does not flaunt its peat. Instead, upon entry one experiences the sweetness of the malt and then the peat, which makes this whisky perfectly balanced.
Ardbeg Ten Years Old ABV: 46%
Beaufort Origin: Savoie
|Bleu des Causses & Secret de Compostelle||Ardbeg An Oa||Bleu des Causses is a French blue cheese made from raw milk of Montbeliarde and Aubrac breeds of cow. A close cousin to Roquefort, it is produced in the Languedoc region of southern France and was granted AOC name protection in 1979.
Secret de Compostelle is a soft, creamy sheep’s milk cheese that melts in your mouth. The creaminess is the perfect backdrop for Ardbeg An Oa. This expression is smooth with a creamy texture leading into a huge syrupy sweetness, flavors of milk chocolate, treacle toffee, aniseed, orange and smoky tea leaves.
Ardbeg An Oa ABV: 46.6%
|Cantelet & Pont L’Eveque||Ardbeg Uigeadail||Cantelet, a smaller version of the 88-pound Cantal wheels, is named from the Cantal Mountains in Auvergne. It is said to be one of France’s oldest cheeses, older than Roquefort, dating bac more than 2,000 years & can be considered an ancestor to English cheddars both in appearance & flavor. Pont L’Eveque is a creamy cheese with a rich washed rind. It compliments the Uigeadail, whichhas a dark and mysterious character. Coming from the marriage of Ardbeg from bourbon barrels and sherry butts, which gives a sweet and smoky finish to this malt.
Ardbeg Uigeadail ABV: 54.2%
Cantalet Origin: Cantalet
|Le Pico & Delice de Bourgogne||Ardbeg
|To make Le Pico cheese makers in Aquitaine gently pasteurize goat’s milk and ladle it into miniature cheese forms typically of the French countryside. Then it’s aged further in caves, teasing out notes of wet stone and forest floor- a rich earthiness that never overwhelms the creamy paste. Delice de Bourgogne is a smooth, creamy triple crème cheese. The creaminess soothes the palate as it makes way for Ardbeg Corryvreckan. This whisky is not for the faint hearted. Swirling aromas and torrents of deep, peaty, peppery tastes lurk beneath the surface.
Ardbeg Corryvreckan ABV: 57.1%
Le Pico Origin: Aquitaine