There are few things more enjoyable than a dram of well-made Scotch whisky — except when you pair it with chocolate. The alchemy can transport you to a whole other level of indulgence. But not all chocolates work well with all whiskies. How to figure out which pairings are excellent and which are “eh”? That’s what we’re here for.

A good guideline is to figure out flavors that will complement each other without too much overlap. A rich whisky doesn’t necessarily go well with a rich dark chocolate; a fruitier ganache doesn’t always match up well with a fruity dram. You want harmony, not two people singing the same notes — or, worse yet, trying to sing over each other. We’re going to walk our taste buds through a range of chocolates paired harmoniously with a few expressions of Johnnie Walker’s whiskies.

First up is Johnnie Walker Black Label, a blended Scotch that is beloved even by single-malt snobs — and is everywhere, possibly including your liquor cabinet. Fruity and spicy on both nose and palate, it’s underpinned with notes of vanilla and toffee, leading up to a warm, smoky finish. Blended Scotches tend to be a combination of flavorful malt and lighter grain whiskies. But Green Label is a vatted malt, meaning it’s a blend made entirely from single malts. Aged at least 15 years, the whiskies come from all parts of Scotland — including Islay, famed for its smoky peated malts. Thirdly, we have Johnnie Walker Blue Label, the ultimate expression of swank, class, and good taste. For many whisky drinkers, this is the blended Scotch — a complex blend with a lightly smoky finish. And last but certainly not least, is Johnnie Walker High Rye, which takes an American-influenced mash bill that’s 60 percent rye and aged in American oak barrels, and blends it with legendary single malts, including Cardhu and Caol Ila.

Not only do the JW folks know what they’re doing — with a 200-year history behind it and its status as the best-selling Scotch whisky in the world, the team’s level of expertise is pretty obvious — but the range of Johnnie Walker expressions makes mixing and matching whisky and chocolate that much more fun.

Whisky and chocolate pairing guide

 

This article is sponsored by Johnnie Walker.