“If you were to ask me to nominate the best pairer of whisky and food in the world my first choice would be Martine Nouet” Salvatore Mannino, Brand Ambassador, La Maison du Whisky (Paris)
Martine Nouet – “One of the World’s Top Five”
Martine Nouet has been a food and drinks journalist on French national newspapers, written extensively on food and drink internationally, written books on single malt whisky, including the popular “Les routes des Malts” and for 6 years was editor of “Whisky Magazine France” where she became known as “La Reine de L’Alambic” (Queen of the Still). She is currently a regular contributor to the UK edition.
Now a globally sought after taster and commentator, Martine is regarded as one of the leaders in her field and has been described as in “the world’s top five”.
Master of the Quaich
In April 2012, at Blair Castle, she was honoured by Scotland’s whisky industry and inducted as a Master of the Quaich, recognising her exceptional contribution to the industry. There are only 147 Masters of the Quaich, from over 2000 worldwide members and Martine lightly asserts she has a unique status as, “the only blonde French woman to have received this prestigious recognition”.
Born in Normandy she now lives and works from her “croft” on Islay, the island home of eight of Scotland’s great single malt distilleries.
IWSC (International Wine and Spirits Competition)
While she mainly writes on whisky she is also a specialist on outstanding eaux-de-vie like Cognac, Calvados, Armagnac and Rum and is annually a judge at the International Wine and Spirit Competition. As Martine puts it, “having nosed Calvados from my childhood at family dinners, I probably kept the memory of that superb eau-de-vie and came to spirits later”.
Unique Whisky Pairings and Sensory Experiments
When it comes to food pairing with whisky, Martine has become a leader in her field. While the more traditional connoisseurs finally digest previously unheard of ideas of whisky in tandem with various kinds of food, Martine has gone further still, conducting experimental sensory whisky events involving, art, dance and music. During an art and whisky event staged at London’s Whisky Exchange in October 2012 the incredulous and the sceptical were blown away by the graphic interpretation of single malt whiskies by two young artists producing finished work in 20 minutes based entirely on her tastings and interaction with the 40 or so guests. Ronnie Cox, Brand Ambassador for The Glenrothes described it as “an epiphany”.
Throughout 2012 she ran several highly successful food pairing events around the world and closer to home was very active during festivals on Islay and on Speyside.
At her home she has entertained the Canlis brothers, owners of the celebrated Canlis Restaurant in Seattle, with a whisky pairing and five course lunch which was reported in the US edition of Food and Drink Magazine.
“…….and I reluctantly taste beer”
Michael Jackson, the renowned and internationally recognised whisky and beer commentator, was her great friend and mentor and was by her side when she founded Whisky Magazine France. He would have been delighted to learn of Martine’s recent excursion into beer and food pairing. She appears in a film series, made on Islay, by US based filmmaker Rob Draper on behalf of an independent Maine brewer.
“It has been a privilege to contribute this piece to the site. I have seen Martine drive a coach and horses through conventional ideas on nosing, tasting and interpreting”. Martin Mitchell, Journalist (Food, drink, travel)