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Perfect Pairing: Bowmore 18 Single Malt and the oyster luge

The first time I met Johnnie TheScot---Johnnie Mundell, Brand Ambassador for Morrison Bowmore---he looked me straight in the eye and with an earnest expression and only the slight burr of a Scottish accent informed me that I would love the taste of oysters and single malt scotch.

Bowmore 18 Single Malt Scotch
Hoke Harden

Though somewhat dubious---I’m picky about my oysters and more so about my single malts and don’t often think of those two things naturally going together---I grudgingly allowed Johnnie the chance to prove his assertion.

There were plenty of single malt scotches on hand from which to choose, since Johnnie was conducting an impressive tasting of Auchentoshan, Glen Garioch, and Bowmore scotches in a glorious array of aged iterations. Johnnie carefully selected one of them for his demonstration, confiding that the secret to the successful combination of oysters and single malt resided in the precise combination of the particular single malt with the particular oyster.

Johnnie insists that Islay single malts and oysters make the best pairing, and that you often see them on Islay as a standard dish. There’s a natural marriage between the briny note of Islay scotch and the oyster liquor that makes the combination magical. Depending on the oyster available, Johnnie uses either the Bowmore 12, 15 or 18 for his demonstrative pairings.

Since what we had available was a small, sweet but meaty, and tangy/briny Hama Hama oyster, Johnnie selected the Bowmore 18 year old. The trick of it, says Johnnie, is to choose a malt that is well-aged, sufficiently delicate, mellow and mature from long aging, yet still has a soft honeyed fruit and touch of the sea to it.

He deftly poured a tot of the Bowmore 18 and placed a single oyster next to the glass, instructing me to taste a tiny sip of the oyster brine, a sip of the Bowmore, then slide the oyster into my mouth, tip the rest of the Bowmore into the oyster shell with the remaining liquor and drain the shell. I complied.

It was…remarkably tasty! So tasty, in fact, that I began looking for another oyster to try it again. The Bowmore 18 accentuated the richness of the oyster, and the oyster merged beautifully with the fruity, peaty, and slightly spicy whiskey. This single malt oyster luge was fun ceremony with rewarding results.

This could become a tradition.

Tune in to the accompanying video and you can watch Johnnie narrate the entire experience of the Oyster Luge with Bowmore.

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