On Thursday night, Susan and I went to a whisky tasting event in Tel Aviv. It was held in the cellars of a local wine and spirits retailer (Derech Hayayin) where they have a pleasantly equipped events room, filled to the brim with booze. Their selection of whisky is the best I have seen in Israel, though the prices are mouth wateringly high.
The event was very professional. (It nearly started on time, for goodness sake!) The presenter – whose name I forgot to take – worked for Diageo in the UK for several years, and he knows his whisky. He also knows the Scots and his Scotland, as he proceeded show by educating his audience. His presentation was spot on. Humor. Whisky. History. What a superb combination!
After the introductory spiel, we moved on to the whisky. For each of the seven, he told us a bit about the distillery, a bit about the whisky, and then took us through the look, the smell, the taste, and the retaste (with added water). I would never manage seven full measures – and these were decent measures – so I paced myself, taking only a wee taste of the first couple. Susan was very restrained, doing no more than giving the odd whisky the slightest taste, as she was the designated driver. (Poor Susan!) There were supplies on hand to clean the palate between tastes. But, before you know it, the night – and the seven whiskies – were over.
The seven stars of the night (with my ratings*):
- Deanston 12 years old – Rough and ready. 1/5
- Tobermory 10 years old – Just as rough, but a bit more ready. 2/5
- Ledaig 10 years old – Peaty and overpowering. But add water, and it’s a wee cracker. 3/5
- Glenlivet 12 years old – Overrated, but still a good whisky. 3/5
- Dalwhinnie 15 years old – Also peaty and strong, but rescued with water. 3/5
- Glenrothes 1991 vintage – Super, sophisticated taste. With or without water. 4/5
- Bunnahabhain 16 years old – Good, challenging whisky. (Challenging your tastebuds, that is.) Best with water, but the naked version could grow on you. Way too overpriced, though. 4/5
There was a discount for whisky purchases on the night, and the shop seemed to do good business out of it. The evening was very reasonably priced, and it gave me an opportunity to extend my whisky experience, and both of us to practice listening to a full lecture in Hebrew. However, both of us found it a strange situation to be lectured in Hebrew about the land of our birth.
Based on that night, I think Susan will want to try out their wine tasting evenings. If you get a good presenter, and a reasonable range of drinks, a good night is assured. I will probably want to go back if they have another whisky night. Recommended.
[*I believe you should drink the whisky you like, not what someone tells you to like. So these are my personal ratings. You may score them completely differently. The main thing is to drink what you enjoy, and to enjoy what you drink.]