Which whisky pairs best with haggis?
Given that whisky is generally considered the most appropriate match for haggis I thought it would be interesting to check out what Britain’s top whisky experts have to recommend for Burns Night:
Dave Broom - whisky writer
"The best, by some distance, is Talisker 10 y o. It's the pepperiness on the finish of the whisky that gives the flavour bridge, the oatmeal in the haggis gives a malty note to a whisky which doesn't usually display this, the sweetness of the dram offsets the gaminess of the haggis (adding complexity) while the smoke in the whisky adds another dimension to the whole dish. Runner up for me is Highland Park 12yo."
Charlie Maclean - author of Whisky: a liquid history, www.whiskymax.co.uk
My favourite, without a doubt, is Talisker 10 y o - because it's sweet and lightly smoky, then spicy in the finish. Pour it on (anoint) the haggis or drink alongside.
Marcin Miller - whisky commentator
I like the taste of haggis and prefer it enhanced by whisky rather than overpowered by it. So I'd go for an elegant blend like Cutty Sark or perhaps BNJ (Bailie Nicol Jarvie) I'd keep the malt for drinking alongside! Similar thinking applies if you are set on using malt to pour over the haggis. I wouldn't opt for anything too phenolic and would go for Highland Park (a nice balance of peat and sweet) or, of course, The Glenrothes (classic Speyside with great structure and mouthfeel).
Neil Ridley - whisky blogger, caskstrength.net
Whisky and haggis should, in theory, be a wonderful marriage of Highland flavour but it is easy to go too far with the whisky. I used to use Laphroaig 10 yo but it was just too peaty to match and overpowered the food in my opinion.
The whisky needs to work with the following: the haggis itself, that delicious meaty gravy, earthy buttery turnips and sweet, flowery swede.I'd suggest these whiskies off the top of my head:
- Ardbeg Uigeadail- sherried and not too heavily peated - a very hearty whisky. Also some of the older bottlings from the 70's would be excellent, less peated but they are very expensive!
- Older Clynelish/Brora. These have really meaty/gamey notes which should work well.
- 2 yo Cragganmore
- Highland Park 18- very honeyed, rich and peppery but should work with the 'Neeps and Tatties' and the rich gravy.
- Karuizawa single casks- The bottlings done by No. One Drinks Co. from the 70's /1980's have that earthy, outdoor feel of wild mushrooms and forest floor freshness. Might be sacrilege to match a Japanese whisky with a Scottish national dish though!!
Gavin D Smith - www.whisky-pages.com
I am a fan of the Skye malt Talisker with haggis, but some of the bigger, sherried Speysiders also work well for me - whiskies like Aberlour and Glenfarclas and The Macallan. The sweetness provides a nice contrast with the spicy and peppery character of the dish.
Stuart Bale, assistant bar manager, Albannach, London.
The Glenlivet 18 year old. The hint of spice and slightly nutty finish works really well with the meaty and peppery flavours of the haggis.
If you found this post useful and were happy to get the advice for free perhaps you'd think about donating towards the running costs of the site? You can find out how to do it here or to subscribe to our regular newsletter click here.