Forget lick, sip, suck: the wildest way to enjoy your whisky is shuck, sip, suck.
Scottish single malt Talisker chartered a boat on the slate-grey waters off the coast of Bruny Island in Tasmania for a special taste of this savoury delicacy.
The mouth of the River Derwent is an ideal spot to imbibe the unique twist on the oyster shooter, as the unspoiled Tassie coastline is a dead ringer for the shores of the Isle of Skye, where Talisker has been distilled since 1830.
Start by shucking a golden-shelled Tasmanian Pacific oyster the size of your fist, which has been growing in pristine waters for at least two years.
Then take a judicious sip of Talisker whisky – the flagship 10 year old or the no-age expression Talisker Storm will do nicely.
Suck back your oyster, pausing for a few chews for maximum flavour.
Next, pour another nip of Talisker straight into the shell and let it mingle with the oyster liquor.
Down the salty, complex liquid and feel the warmth spread across your belly. Sláinte.
"The maritime quality of Talisker pairs beautifully with the brininess of the oysters," says national whisky ambassador Simon McGoram. "Talisker and oysters are both made by the sea, and so in turn make an incredible pairing ... a sea-salty nose, peaty, sweet smoky character, and peppery finish."
Made for Dark Mofo
"Think of it like a pirate meeting a mermaid," says Lee Macefield from Get Shucked, which farms up to 75,000 Pacific oysters at any one time at Great Bay off Bruny Island.
The 'pirate' in this case is the rugged Talisker Storm, the 'mermaid' is the silky, elegant oyster.
"It's like the rough and ready pirate who comes in from a hard day at sea, who is looking to find a mate, and he finds the beautiful mermaid and the two are the perfect match."
The shuck-sip-suck experience was created to celebrate Dark Mofo, the equally rough-and-ready, dark and mysterious festival that's happening in Hobart until June 24. Talisker is a natural partner for Australia's coolest arts festival, being one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland with a naturally rebellious edge.
"Hobart's bracing climate over winter and the ancient rocky cliffs that line the Derwent are immediately reminiscent of Talisker's home – the Isle of Skye," explains McGoram. "Add to this the Talisker Dark Bar's port-side location and the festival's penchant for open wood fires … you can almost taste Talisker in the air."
Hot to trot
Punters at the Dark Mofo can also enjoy a twist on the classic hot toddy made with Talisker 10 Year Old, honey, lemon, mead, and topped with gum leaves for an Australian twist.
"Open indoor chimney fires, candle-lit ambience and the warming hot toddy with its sweet honey and lemon flavours are a welcome respite from the cold," says McGoram. "Even the most novice Scotch drinker will be converted."
Find hot toddies and hotter jaffles at the Talisker Dark Bar until this weekend at Dark Park.
The writer travelled to Hobart with assistance from Talisker.