Close Menu

SMWS pairs whisky with insects

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) hosted an ‘unusual’ tasting event, which paired edible insects with different varieties of Scotch.

SMWS insects
The ‘unusual’ tasting was part of SMWS’s 40th anniversary celebrations. Imagery by Mike Wilkinson

Hosted at The Vaults in Leith, Edinburgh, the A Pairing With Legs tasting saw ‘creepy-crawlies’ such as crickets, mealworms, locusts, and a scorpion paired with a variety of whiskies.

The tasting was hosted as part of SMWS’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

To mark this milestone, the society is launching a range of special releases, as well as hosting a series of events, collaborations and happenings throughout the year, all inspired by founder Pip Hills’ ‘unorthodox’ outlook.

Helen Stewart, head of brand marketing and membership, said: “Whisky and insects? Precisely. This type of tasting personifies what the Society is all about. Our 40th anniversary year is going to be our most adventurous yet.”

She added: “A Pairing With Legs is just one of many unconventional tastings taking place this year as we continue bringing adventurous whisky fans together to explore the flavours of whisky and enjoy interesting sensory experiences.”

Previously, the SMWS has paired whiskies with other unusual items, such as perfume. It has also staged a tasting on top of a Munro – a Scottish mountain with a height of more than 3,000 feet.

Three ‘adventurous’ whisky fans were invited to take part in the special event.

The tasting paired a variety of edible bugs with whiskies

The tasting’s first flavour pairing saw mealworms matched with Disco Diva, a 12-year-old whisky from Speyside. The whisky is described as boasting ‘an all-singing-and-dancing karaoke of icing sugar-coated biscuits, dried coconut and hot cross buns’.

The second pairing featured locusts paired with Raspberry Fields Forever, a whisky described as having a palate of ‘creamy custard with juicy raspberry sorbet on apple crumble’.

Finally the smoked crickets were paired with Smokus Fruticosus, a sweet, rich and ‘intensely smoky’ blended malt featuring whiskies from the islands of Islay and Orkney.

At the end of the tasting, participants were invited to pair a Scorpion with a whisky of their choice.

Attendee Scott Begbie of Aberdeen, Scotland, said: “My favourite flavour pairing was the smoked crickets with a blended malt featuring smoky whiskies from Islay and Orkney. That pairing of smoky, salty flavours worked really well.

“The mealworms were crunchy and tasted like Bombay Mix with less spices. The locusts were challenging but they reminded me of Twiglets. The scorpion surprised me — it was really good, a bit like a salty pretzel.”

A second A Pairing With Legs event is due to take place in May, for which the SMWS is working with Dr Vladimir Blagoderov, the principal curator of invertebrates at the National Museum of Scotland, to explore different types of edible insects.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No