In part one of this particular journey, my darling and I had the luxury of enjoying some of THE BEST oysters in Seattle at Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar in downtown Seattle. Our culinary adventure was now about to take us to new heights. After we finished the crab I got into a discussion with our server about scotch. I like to finish the evening with a nice single malt if I can, and I had noticed a nice selection behind the bar when we came in. Her face lit up and she told us she had the perfect finish to our evening – something not on the menu yet, but incredible: A single malt scotch and oyster flight.
Dear readers, when she suggested this I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
In my last post, I made the comparison of how the presentation of oysters at Taylors’ could be compared to a wine tasting. Everyone at Taylors all know the subtleties of each oyster and their “Shucker’s Dozen” sampler is presented more like a wine flight than a food sampler. Add in a healthy appreciation for single malts and and you will have an idea of their oyster/ scotch flight.
This was serious business – the shucker, the bartender, our server and the manager all huddled behind the bar, grabbing bottles of scotch and whispering excitedly. Finally, the server returned, carrying a tray containing eight glasses of lovely amber liquid (three types of single malt scotch and one cognac). The shucker followed her with a gorgeous plate of oysters, one for each of the eight glasses.
The Virginica oysters were paired with a Pierre Ferrand cognac. This is a French, 1ER Cru De Cognac which has a smooth finish. We were told to take a sip from the glass, then eat the oyster, and then mix a tiny bit of liquor with the liquid remaining inside the shell and taste the result. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, so I did as told. First I took a sip of the cognac. I’m not normally a cognac drinker but this was rich and smooth. Then I ate the oyster – Virginicas have a rich, meaty texture and a creamy sweet flavor. The cognac amplified the already amazing flavors of the oyster dramatically. Finally, I mixed the two together and the resulting combination of flavors exploded in my mouth. All I could do was say, “wow.”
Next came a Fanny Bay oyster, paired with a 16-year-old Lagavulan. This single malt is distilled in Islay and has a distinctive smoky nose that is reminiscent of sweet spices, good, mature sherry and creamy vanilla. The pallet is like a sherry with good fruity sweetness, combined with a big, powerful peat and oak and finishes with a beautiful smokiness, that hints of figs, dates, and vanilla. It brought out the mild brininess, and cucumber flavors of the oyster. As I tasted the mixture of the two, I was again left speechless.
The third combination was a Shigoku oyster with a 12 year old Bunnahabhain. Another single malt from Islay, I could try to describe the scotch’s wonderfulness but I think on this one I shall defer, dear reader to its creators:
Our final pairing was the peak Passage Pacific oysters with a , which is a Islay Barley single malt. The nose of this amazing scotch has floral notes of heather and more than a hint of juniper, hawthorn and thyme. Then it softens with ripe fruit, green grapes, melon, pear and pineapple all sprinkled with cinnamon. However the Islay barley is ever present throughout. The palate has definite oak that cradles all of the aromatics holding them close until the blend into a perfect oneness. The finish, mixed with the subtly of the flavors of the oyster (especially the artichoke) truly leaves those partaking of this marriage breathless and speechless.
Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar has hit on something with this pairing that is truly amazing. Reflecting not only the beauty of the oysters and scotch but also of the passion and love that those that tend for them.
Address: 410 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
Hours: 11:30 AM – 9:00 PM