I used to be very traditional when cooking scallops. They would be simply fried and served with bacon and a nice glass of white Burgundy. Nowadays, I flambé them in Islay whisky and serve them with a dram of the same. This makes the cooking and the eating more exciting.

Whisky is surprisingly food friendly and you can often match a different dram to each course. For example, Bunnahabhain is brilliant with Arbroath Smokies and Mortlach matches venison very well. You can also have fun experimenting with pairing whiskies to the cheeseboard.

In general whisky is enjoying a boom period with overseas sales on the rise. Also, at home a new generation of drammers is enjoying choosing from a wider range on the specialist shelves. This is where you’ll find the rarer and older releases than those on the supermarkets’ lists. Budding collectors are seeking out rarer still bottles from the whisky auctions, which they will take home and squirrel away until the next auction. Unless of course, they drink them instead.

My lovely wife Laura recently started collecting whisky. Her strategy is to buy three bottles at a time…one to drink, one to share with friends and the third to open when the first two are finished. We have yet to make any money from this venture.

My friend Andy grew up in Port Charlotte on Islay, and he has been a massive influence on me in whisky terms over the years. He introduced me to the wonders of peated malts when I couldn’t see past Speyside. This is why it’s so important to experiment and taste as many different styles as you can. You don’t have to go out and buy a dozen bottles to run this experiment. Instead, pop to a good whisky bar and have a glass or two. Look for the differences, and find your favourite.

If you prefer to have a bottle handy in the cupboard, here are two to consider this weekend.

Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie (Waitrose, £41.99) is a great introduction to the malts of Islay. It’s bottled at 50% ABV and is entirely unpeated. It is certainly full of character and flavour though, and it has become my favourite with scallops.

The Big Strand (Inverarity One to One, £34). This is a single malt from Islay, named after a stretch of beach on the island. Although you won’t find the distillery name on the label, it is in fact a young and delicious Caol Ila. It’s very well balanced in the glass which makes it a great dram for peat novices as well as the more seasoned island drinkers.