FREE standard delivery on orders above £140 | UK delivery only

How to pair whisky or cognac with cheese

A wine and cheese pairing is nothing new, but pairing whisky or cognac with cheese is the new way to end a meal


There’s nothing like settling back after a celebratory dinner, grazing on a plentiful cheeseboard and enjoying a complementary wine. Take your experience to the next level by adding whisky or cognac to the equation. While many spirits are too aggressive to pair with cheese, the diverse flavours found in cognac and whisky work harmoniously with a range of different cheeses.

Pairing whisky and cheese

There’s one reason whisky pairs well with cheese: it makes it taste better. The robust flavours of whisky coaxes out the rich flavours of cheese, so when pairing the two, match the flavour and strength of the cheese to that of the whisky so that neither overpowers the other. Here are three combinations to get you started.

1. Hard cheese with fruity whisky

An excellent hard cheese to add to a board is manchego. Its fruity, spiced tones are magnified by lighter, non-smoky whiskies with equal tones of sweet fruit and delicate spice – such as 12-year-old Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or.

2. Soft cheese with smokey whisky

The creaminess of soft mould-ripened cheese, such as brie, needs a whisky with enough acidity and bite to cut through, but that’s restrained enough to not overpower its subtle flavour. Choose one that strikes a balance between the sweetness of the malt and the smokiness of the peat, such as Ardbeg 10 years old.

3. Blue cheese with slightly sweet whisky

The strong, complex flavours found in powerful blue cheeses pair well with sweet wines, and it’s the same principle for whisky. Choose Glenmorangie Lasanta, a sweeter style of Highlands whisky that combines sweet, sherry-flavoured sultana notes with citrus, walnut and butterscotch.


Pairing cognac and cheese

We all know how great cheese and wine are together, so it makes sense that the grape-based spirit cognac enjoys the same relationship. Remember that younger cheese works best with younger cognacs, while more mature cheese should be paired with more mature cognacs. Get things off to a start with these three combinations.

1. Aged cheeses with aged cognacs

The nuttiness and saltiness of an aged Parmesan pairs like a dream with an older cognac that has developed its mature, sweet flavours. Try the rich and bold Hennessey X.O.

2. Soft cheese with a young cognac

For soft cheese that’s creamy with a pungent aroma, for example camembert, choose a cognac such as Hennessey VSOP. Its toasty notes bring out the earthy, buttery richness of the cheese, without overwhelming it, while the smooth velvety textures found in each work beautifully together.

3. Blue cheese with slightly sweet whisky

The sweet and fruity aromas fresh apricot, candied orange peel and hints of warm spices that you find in Hennessey Master Blender IV, wouldn’t be out of place on a cheeseboard, so it stands to reason that they work especially well with a wedge of strong blue cheese, such as roquefort.