Islay Scotch this may seem at the outset to be a more difficult whisky to pair. The signature note of an Islay whisky is peat smoke.

Bacon is the food equivalent of an Islay.  Imagine what foods go well with bacon.

From eggs to ray oysters, smoked oysters, smoked salmon, smoked almonds to black beans Meat really goes well with scotch Irrelevant of the brand Venison, fillet steak, partridge and pheasant to milk chocolate, there isn’t much that doesn’t taste great with a hint of smoke.

Pairings for the extraordinary Islay peaty whiskies. Here are some serving tapa-sized dishes with a dram. Here are some of the flavors and ingredients that would work with Islay whiskies.


Must kick off with a classic. Those of you who are familiar with the Port Charlotte MRC: 01 Heavily Peated won’t need telling it’s an extraordinary combination of sweet and smokey – a huge-flavored, yet subtle whisky that needs an equally characterful partner to set it off. You might think that a pungent salty Roquefort would be too extreme but there’s a wonderful alchemy between the two – as there is in all the best food and drink pairings, the Lagavulin adding a subtle smokey overlay to the cheese, the cheese making the whisky even more intense and mysterious.

Mutton or rare breed lamb
A pairing that’s closer to home. Islay almost certainly has more sheep than people and the lamb has the same sort of rich, aromatic flavor as salt marsh lamb. In miniaturized terms I’d be thinking of mutton pies or a not-too-spicy lamb samosa.

Middle eastern style lamb meatballs or kofte
Similar thinking with a touch of spice

Char siu, barbecued or pulled pork
It would heighten the smokey barbecued effect deliciously, I think, and could deal with the sweetness of a marinade

Smoked reindeer or venison
Scandinavians are great fans of Islay whiskies, I hear, and I’m sure would love smoked meats like reindeer or venison with them – maybe as a part of a tailor-made smorgasbord selection

Teriyaki salmon
Again a speculative pairing but I reckon cubes or skewers of teriyaki salmon would work really well

Kipper quiche or paté
You’re not going to want to drink whisky with your kippers (I would hope) but in a tartlet or mixed with cream or cream cheese in a paté I’m sure it would work.

Islay Scotch and sushi
salty, sea brine

Charred or roast aubergines
There’s got to be a veggie pairing for peaty whisky and my money’s on aubergine – most likely in the form of the middle eastern spread baba ganoush.

The authentic Indian version with lentils rather than the anglicised one with smoked haddock. Served as a rice bowl.

Plain, dark chocolate – at least 70%
Pretty good with blended whisky – bound to be good with a peaty one.