Haggis w/ Single Malt Scotch
Let me preface this by saying that my friends and I are giant nerds. We have decided to hold a Highland games that will be preceded by a five pound haggis and several bottles of Scotch. I have read a few places that Talisker 10 is a good single malt to pair with haggis, but beyond that I don't know what other bottles we should buy. I imagine we'll have around $150-$200 to spend on whisky. There are going to be around ten of us and we will probably drink a lot, because we tend to do that. We will probably need 3-4 bottles. So my question is, within that budget, what bottles would you pair with haggis and caber tossing?
I'd say if you are caber tossing, you are nerdy giants, not the reverse.
What do you know about Scotch? Preferences? What have you liked and disliked in the past?
I've not had haggis, but assuming it has a strong iodine / mineral aspect from the offal, I would think that a strong peaty scotch would be appropriate. Talisker is certainly in that camp, and I happen to love it. It is more accessible than some of the hugely peaty Scotches, such as Laphroaig or Lagavulin, plus it's pretty easy to find.
You might consider different bottles, though, for fun. Or if each of you is really going to drink 4/10 of a bottle of Scotch, consider starting with a nicer one and transitioning to something cheap and good, like Bowmore Legend.
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I drink a lot of single malts, especially recently. I like Talisker, Laphroaig and Lagavulin (in fact I will probably pour myself a glass of Lagavulin 12 as soon as I get home). I am really on board with just about any variety. I am asking because none of us have ever had haggis before so we're totally clueless as to how it tastes. We are hoping that copious amounts of Scotch and haggis will give us the strength of giants for the caber toss.
I'm going to a burns night tomorrow where there will be haggis and am taking a bottle of Highland Park. Not everyone gets on with peaty malts and I find HP quite sweet and a bit of sweetness goes well with offal. Lagavulin 16 yr is an Islay malt but I find it rounder than laphroig 1O yr and not such a hit of iodine. Should also work but agree with Evergreen that like wine, start with the good stuff
I should also mention that we would like a bit of variety to try with the haggis. Not just three bottles of Talisker.
Having had haggis many times, both commercially made, and made from scratch starting with a live lamb, the flavor focus isn't really on the meats, but the grains. Think of what single malt you would pair with oats.
Personally I think a good range of single malts is the way to go.
While the peaty malts from the west coast of Scotland (Talisker, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, etc.) have many fans, there are others (such as myself!) who find them way too strong and assertive.
If you are going to spend $150-$200, you should be able to buy at least 4 or 5 bottles of good quality whisky. I would encourage you to buy at least one bottle from the Speyside area (such as Glenlivet, Macallan or Balvenie) and one bottle from the northern Highlands (such as Highland Park, Old Pultney or Clynelish).
Having an assortment of whiskies will give you and your friends a chance to sample the wide variety of single malts produced in Scotland.