Scotch and Cheese Pairings are Really a Thing

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Photo courtesy of GlenDronach

GlenDronach Single Malt Scotch


It's not typical to order scotch or whiskey in a gay bar (gesturing widely to include lesbian bars and all-welcoming bars). However, there are those of us in the LGBTQ+ community that enjoy a good whiskey-or whisky depending on where it comes from.

They say if you're a red wine drinker you'll most likely like whiskey and Scotch. We don't know if that is necessarily true or not but some of us do enjoy whiskey as much as we do wine.

Whisky vs Whiskey

Let's try to explain the difference...Near as we can tell, Scotch is whisky because it's made in Scotland. Everything else is bourbon, whiskey, and well, whisky. The differences are that whisky is made in Scotland, Canada, or Japan but whiskey is made in Ireland and the U.S. When it comes to bourbon, it means that it is whiskey distilled in the U.S.

Those are the more basic explanations and it goes even further than that. Scotch whisky, whiskey, and bourbon are all grain alcohols but they vary depending on the regulations and the blending process.

All Scotch must be aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years and then they can be placed in sherry casks which adds another level of flavor and aroma to the scotch.

Single Malt Whisky vs Blended Scotch Whisky

Now that you have that down, let's dive into single malt whisky vs blended scotch whisky.

Single malt whisky is the product of just one distillery. Single malt whisky can be blended with other single malt whiskies and still be labeled single malt because...you guessed it, they were produced at the same distillery.

Blended scotch whisky is a mixture of two or more whiskies that are barrel-age and grain whiskies. On top of that, you have blended malt scotch whiskey which is a blend of two or more distilleries. Then there's blended gain scotch whisky which is a blend of grains from two or more distilleries.

Whew! Still with us? Great. That was tough and we could use a drink just trying to wrap our heads around that one...And that is only scotch whisky. We haven't even touched on the other locations...maybe another time.

Pairing Cheese and Scotch Whisky

orange and blue background with Cheese Sex Death book cover.

Cheese Sex Death A Bible for the Cheese Obsessed

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Did you know that just like wine, cheese goes great with whisky and whiskey. It doesn't sound that appealing but trust us, you can really get them to compliment each other.

The flavor of the cheese and the whisky is enhanced if paired properly. Sure there are cheeses that just don't go with certain expressions of whisky just as in wine. It's really up to personal preference and the flavor profiles of both cheese and whisky.

One way to test the theory is by picking up the book Cheese Sex Death: A Bible for the Cheese Obsessed by Erika Kubick. While you're at it, you may want to check out her Instagram account too. It's loaded full of sexy cheeses.

If you thought you knew all there was to know about cheese, you'd be wrong. We were. So wrong.

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GlenDronach Single Malt Scotch Whisky

bottles of GlenDronach Scotch

GlenDronach Core Single Malt Scotch Whiskies

Photo courtesy of GlenDronach

The core whiskies of GlenDronach are the 12, 15, 18, and 21-year aged whiskies. As you taste these whiskies from 12 to 21, you will notice what a difference aging makes. The sweet spot is the 15 and 18-year bottles. Think of the 15 as your everyday drinking scotch and the 18 years as a once in a while. The 21-year-aged scotch however is for those nightcaps where you just had the perfect meal and you're settling in for the night and maybe enjoying a cigar.

Every single malt scotch whisky is matured in Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks, which are the grapes used to make Spanish Sherry. Aging in sherry casks gives each whisky a depth of flavor and finish that you can appreciate in every bottle.

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Benriach Scotch

bottles of Benriach scotch whisky lined up on a table with whisky barrels laying in front of them.

Benriach

Photo courtesy of Benriach

The core bottles of Benriach are The Original Ten, The Smoky Ten, The Twelve, The Smoky Twelve, The Twenty One, The Twenty Five, and The Thirty.

The 10 and 12-year whiskies can be peated or unpeated which means the level of smokiness. These whiskies are matured in a three-cask system and aged for 10 or 12 years. If you're looking for a more aged scotch, then the 21, 25, and 30-year scotch whiskies are it. These whiskies are matured in a four-cask system.

What does three cask matured or four cask matured mean?

When a spirit is aged (or matured) in barrels, they take on some of the flavors of the barrel. The three cask matured whiskies here are matured in bourbon, Jamaican rum, and toasted virgin oak casks. Whereas, the four cask matured whiskies are aged in bourbon, sherry, virgin oak, and Bordeaux red wine casks.

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There is a vast world of booze out there. Some good, some bad, and well, some definitely ugly. While it's great to have a cocktail with your favorite people, it's even better to be able to sit down and really enjoy and appreciate the work that goes into creating a spirit you can drink on its own or with a piece of ice.

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Mjolnir

Like many of the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe films, LGBTQ+ fans awaited the release of Thor: Love and Thunder in open anticipation of the inclusivity that both Marvel and Disney had promised. However, the fans were only setting themselves up for disappointment when the film was finally released.

Despite passionate assurances from studio heads to key actors, Thor: Love and Thunder was NOT spectacularly gay. It wasn’t even that good…

Premiere Night Promises

A bolt of lightning cuts across a rainbow on a dark and stormy night.

Lightning bold across the sky

Photo by Bill D.

Standing on the red carpet at the London Premiere of the film, director and actor Taika Waititi and fellow cast members Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson were offered up the inevitable question: “How gay is the film?

Amidst some laughter from the crowds, Waititi gestured towards Portman to respond. The actress (who plays Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster, throughout the franchise) raised the microphone to her lips and thought for a moment, before delivering a quiet yet fateful: “So gay!

Barely a moment had passed before the gathered fans went wild and Taika Waititi gave his own verdict: “Super gay!”. Tessa Thompson made no statement on the ‘gayness’ of the film, instead opting to swing her microphone around suggestively. As more cheers erupted, a second round of “super gay” slipped out of Waititi’s mouth, before he urged the fans to enjoy the film.

Thor: Love and Thunder’s LGBTQ+ Potential

Thor’s movie-goers were definitely hyped up for a gay extravaganza and they had a specific character in mind. The fan-favorite Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, stumbled her way into the MCU during Thor’s third film, Ragnarok. The Asgardian warrior won many people over with her wit, sarcasm, and pure badassery.

After the events of Avengers: Endgame *spoilers*, Thor Odinson gives up his claim to the throne of Asgard and names Valkyrie as king in his stead. This left many fans excited to see what would become of the character, especially after certain revelations were made at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con:

“As a new king, she has to find her queen. So that’ll be her first order of business.”

With these words, Tessa Thompson threw her LGBTQ+ fans into a frenzy, with heavy expectations for the then-upcoming fourth installment of the Thor films. Indeed, in an interview with the LA Times, shortly before the film's release, Tessa Thompson was asked to comment on the sexuality of her character. She responded with several promising remarks, including “there’s a lot of folks that are righteously very hungry for that representation to exist in these movies, as am I”.

*Warning: spoilers ahead!*

So, How Gay Was Thor 4?

To put it simply: not gay at all. Not only did Valkyrie end up without a fabulous new queen, her non-heteronormative sexuality only got the barest mention (a brief line about a previous, now dead, girlfriend). Valkyrie may have made bedroom eyes at some pretty ladies before an action scene spoils the moment, but that’s about as much as we get.

The film does get some credit for introducing a trans character in a minor yet significant role. Thor returns to his people (after a brief stint as a Guardian of the Galaxy) only to find out that the daughter of one of his closest (and deceased) friends is now a boy. The issue is, whether due to personal prejudice or some alien inability to grasp the concept of being transgender, it does take Thor a frustrating few moments to come to terms with the change. And to stop deadnaming.

In fact, the only concession to the queer community was Taika Waititi’s extraterrestrial character Korg finding a husband in one of the closing scenes. This heartfelt moment was somewhat underscored by the revelation that Korg’s entire species is male, meaning he had no other choice but to be ‘gay’.

This Is Not Marvel’s First Queerbaiting Attempt

Close up of an eye reflecting an unknown scene as a rainbow crosses the image.

Photo by Harry Q.

This is, by far, not the first time that LGBTQ+ fans have been sorely disappointed by the workings of Marvel and Disney. In fact, people across many social media platforms have been chiding expectant viewers for once again falling for classic queerbaiting tactics. “Being queerbaited by the MCU is like being a golden retriever with a human who always pretends to throw the ball”, one Tumblr user declared.

Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, was the perfect moment for the MCU to introduce its first lesbian lead. Larson’s character seemed to have an intense relationship with another woman, going so far as to help raise her child (before Larson’s Carol Danvers disappeared from Earth for 6 years). Despite leaning into several romantic tropes, the status of their relationship was never fully fleshed out. However, it was also the franchise’s first female-led superhero movie, so maybe they thought that introducing her as a lesbian would make the film too awesome.

The heavily anticipated Avengers: Endgame was also slated to introduce the MCU’s ‘first gay character'. While many fans were excited, particularly as this would be the second of Larson’s appearances on screen, the big gay build-up was a massive letdown. The film’s director Joe Russo made a cameo as a blip survivor mourning the loss of his husband. A five-second throw-away scene that had no impact on the outcome of the film. Big whoop...

Even when we did see a film with a gay lead, The Eternals, there were also ten other straight leads. At that point, it just seemed more like basic probability than an attempt at pushing LGBT+ superheroes into the spotlight.

Why Can’t Disney Let Marvel Be Gay?

The big problem with allowing a few characters to be anything other than cishet is that there are still many countries in the world that outlaw homosexuality. As much as we like to think that the MCU is being made for comic book fans, we all know the purpose of the films is to make money for Disney. And without certain markets in Asia and the Middle East, Disney wouldn’t be raking in up to (and over) one billion dollars per theatrical release.

Is There Any Hope For LGBTQ+ Fans In The MCU’s Future?

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the second in the much-loved Black Panther arc, will be released in cinemas this November. The studio has confirmed that the film will contain a queer character. Actress Michaela Coel will play Aneka, a warrior, and trainer of the king’s guard. Whether or not her diversity will stand out in the film (let alone endure for more than a 10-second scene that can be easily cut) remains to be seen.


Next year’s The Marvels film, starring Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, and Lashana Lynch may offer the MCU a chance to redeem itself in the eyes of its LGBT+ fans. The studios may feel it’s finally time to offer us the heartwarming lesbian relationship between Larson’s Carol Danvers and Lynch’s Maria Rambeau that seemed to be teased in the first Captain Marvel. Don’t raise your hopes too high, though, as you may yet end up as a stubborn golden retriever waiting for a cinematic universe to finally throw that rainbow ball.