Today’s post is from a good friend who offered to attend for me (with a little persuasion). The event was a wonderful food pairing event with Old Pulteney Whisky and Aiden Byrne at Manchester House.
Over to Michelle…
Miss Pond asked me to attend this event for her due to her being unable to get off work! Initially I said no due to some conflicting gym commitments, but then I realised that I love whisky and this sounded like an unmissable event. The day arrived and I jumped on a train over to Manchester from Leeds excited to visit Manchester House for the first time.
Let me start by saying that Manchester house as a venue does not disappoint. It’s beautiful and opulent and were I still resident in the city, I could imagine this becoming a date night favourite. The tasting event was put together as a taster for the Bolton Food and Drink Festival, and I was lucky enough to enjoy Kelly from the festivals company for most of the evening.
I feel that any evening that begins with the dual views of tables of Pulteney Whisky and a beautiful view out over Manchester city centre is a night that I’m going to enjoy. I’m happy to report that I most certainly did. For those who are unfamiliar with Old Pulteney, its hails from the northernmost edge of Scotland in Pulteneytown, Wick. With its coastal setting it is often referred to as the Maritime Malt – reflected in both its flavour profile and its packaging.
We began the evening with a cocktail, a Rusty Sail – a rather clever nautical take on the traditional Rusty Nail, which was 2 parts 12 year old Old Pulteney, 1 part Stroma liqueur, a dash of orange bitters served over ice with an orange twist garnish. As a massive fan of whisky based cocktails, this was spot on for me and I could have happily enjoyed another. But we had to get down to the serious business of tasting the whisky and the wonderful food pairings Aiden had prepared for us.
We began our tasting adventure with the 12 year old, the entry level, if you will, in Old Pulteney’s portfolio. The 12 year old is an easy drinking whisky, with smooth sweet citrus notes and the faintest hint of the salty sea air. This flavour profile was paired with cured salmon served in a nori rice cracker with, seaweed salad, salmon caviar and a wasabi mayonnaise.
After whetting our whistles and tantalising our tastebuds we moved on to the 17 year old. For me, this is the stand out whisky from Old Pulteney and one of the very best that I’ve tried to date. Where the 12 year old had felt clean and fresh, the 17 year old was far more complex and heavy – owing I think to being finished in olorosso sherry casks. To complement the sweet spice of the 17 year old we were served a chicken liver parfait topped with spiced plum puree and tobacco scented chocolate. It was a complex dish of intricate flavours, but matched with the richness of the 17 year old it all worked perfectly and became a truly decadent combination.
Finally we tried the 21 year old, a whisky hailed by Jim Murray as “World Whisky of the Year” in his 2012 Whisky Bible. Expectations were duly high for this one! It’s a full bodied malt, with flavours of vanilla, spice, just a hint of smoke and a delicate sharp finish – which is probably a bit complex for a whisky novice like me, but still an entirely delicious drink. With this final malt Aiden paired it again with an influence from the sea. Poached lobster with smoked apple puree and vanilla oil, which was delicious. It truly made me wish there was a 30 year old that we were due to taste in order to sample some more of Aiden’s fantastic cooking. I loved the idea of pairing whiskies with less conventional food such as cheese and really challenging and expanding what flavours you can pick out in whisky.
I had a wonderful evening with Pulteney Pairings, and all that remains to say is thank you to Miss Pond for extending the invite to me. Thank you also to Manchester House and Aiden Byrne for hosting us, Old Pulteney for the wonderful whisky and Bolton Food Festival.
P.S. Michelle attended this event for me. All words, photos and opinions are hers and I’m very lucky to be able to share this amazing event with you all!