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Oysters and Scotch for Summer Bliss

Saturday Aug 18, 2012

How can you create the ultimate moment of bliss this summer? It's simple -- oysters and Scotch!

The Macallan Scotch has teamed up with James Beard Award-winning author and renowned oyster expert, Rowan Jacobsen to create a menu of pairings that will bring a whole new perspective to your raw bar order this summer.

According to Rowan, Scotch's malty, smoky essence opens up a whole new world of beguiling and grown up flavors when paired with oysters.

This summer, think about trading in your usual go-to wine or spirit and try one (or more) of Rowan's unique pairings below, created specifically for The Macallan 10, 12, and 15 Years Old Scotches that will offer your palate a brand new experience.

The Macallan Fine Oak 10 Years Old
Lighter oak casks allow The Macallan malt to shine through in a subtle, nuanced Scotch that has summer nights written all over it. Pair it with fruity, crowd-pleasing oysters to win converts and surprise the skeptics. Two good bets:

  • Kumamoto, Humboldt Bay, California
    The darling of the raw bar set, the Kumamoto is a small, sweet oyster famed for its watermelon-rind finish. When I wash one down with The Macallan 10 liquid, I'm immediately transported to a wild coastline scattered with driftwood and kelp.

  • Totten Inlet Virginica, Totten Inlet, Washington
    Probably America's best Scotch oyster, the much-sought Totten Inlet Virginica is very unusual: It's an Eastern oyster raised in Totten Inlet, where the Pacific waters impart a fruity depth not found in Atlantic oysters. That gives Totten Inlet Virginicas a buttery razor-clam quality, which brings out the toasty, chestnut-honey side of The Macallan 10.

    According to Rowan, Scotch’s malty, smoky essence opens up a whole new world of beguiling and grown up flavors when paired with oysters.

    The Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Year Old
    A dozen years in sherry casks drapes a layer of crème brulee and wood smoke over The Macallan 12 Years Old. To match such rich flavor, order the boldest oysters on the menu. My picks:

  • Island Creek, Duxbury Bay, Massachusetts
    Brine, brine, and more brine, Island Creeks are the Atlantic Ocean in a shell, the beach of your childhood. They bring tears of nostalgia to the eyes of many East Coasters. Their crisp saltiness contrasts beautifully with the round, nutty luxuriousness of The Macallan 12 Years Old.

  • Belon, Maine Coast
    The ultimate pairing. Belons are the native oyster of the British Isles, still found throughout the jagged western coasts of Ireland and Scotland. In America, they hide out in a handful of Maine tidal creeks. The strongest flavored oyster in the world, Belons' metallic intensity will destroy any wine; they demand a partner with profound depth and body. A dozen years in sherry casks gives The Macallan 12 a richness that civilizes the unruly oyster. There is something primordial about the pairing; it's all smoke and sea, fires on the beach, a momentary glimmer of ancient life on the northern coasts.

    The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Year Old
    A few more years of molecular exchange between whisky and wood smoothes the malt and reveals tropical notes of cocoa butter and citrus peel. This is the sweet spot for oyster pairings, my go-to Scotch to match a mixed sampler of a dozen varieties. You almost can't go wrong, but here are two that go extra right:

  • Glidden Point, Damariscotta River, Maine
    The East Coast's finest oyster for 25 years, Glidden Points are slow-grown in Maine's icy waters, where they achieve an unparalleled crunch and a clean, sea-salt taste. That salt accentuates the peat in The Macallan 15 Years Old, along with the subtlest hints of bitter almond, black cherry, and sandalwood.

  • Olympia, Puget Sound, Washington
    The only oyster native to the West Coast, little Olympias never get larger than a fifty-cent piece, but in flavor they punch well above their weight class. With a complex, balanced Scotch, such as The Macallan 15 Years Old, they become little bombs of copper, celery salt, and water chestnut. A rare find outside of the Pacific Northwest. Keep your eyes peeled.

    Rowan Jacobsen is America's oyster guru. He is the James Beard Award-winning author of A Geography of Oysters and the founder of

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