After several days of preparations and discussions via emails and phones, the date and time was set for the first WhiskyIsrael Peat Summit. Kfir Bloch, Gal Granov, Igal Tabachnik and I met at Kfir’s place in the hot and humid town of Ramat Gan, located in the Israeli coastal area.
July in Israel is not a very whisky welcoming time and good thing Kfir had the A/C on full power long before we arrived.
We each had to bring few bottles from our collections according to the excellent tasting list and plan crafted by Gal.
The original list and tasting order was as follows:
Amrut Fusion NAS – Gal
Bunnahabhain PX finish 18yo. – Shai
Ardbeg ANB 16 year old – Kfir
Smokehead 18 Extra Black – Igal
Ardbeg RC – Gal
Lagavulin Distillery Only 2010 PX finish – Shai
Bruichladdich PC8 – Kfir
Ardbeg Supernova 2010 – Igal
And I just had to add to that, as a closing bottle, the Jura Boutique Barrel 1999 Heavily peated.
We know, the Amrut and Bunnahabahin are not peaty. True. We used the Armut to warm up our palates and went on to the Bunnahabhain because I praised it to Gal for so long that he had no other choice but to add it to the list.
After we settled down, all the bottles placed on the table, Glencairn glasses (we each brought some of those too) placed on special WhiskyIsrael tasting sheets prepared by Gal (who pampered us to feel as we are in a master class) and food laid nicely by Kfir on plates, we were ready to start the tasting.
WhiskyIsrael first Peat Summit Tasting Sheet
Or were we? Well we were, but all my partners for the evening just had to use their iPhones to update their twitter statuses. All but me – I’m stuck with a Nokia, but that’s a whole different story.
We didn’t have enough glasses for all the whiskies for all of us, so instead we tasted three at a time, washed the glasses and moved to the next three.
I’m not going to share any proper tasting notes; that I leave up to Gal, he does it way better.
We started the tastings at first according to the above given order. I say at first, as at some point during the evening, between tastings, talking about Islay and other trips abroad, whisky shops and life, other bottles from Kfir’s collection found their way to the table and to glasses “just for a wee taste”. This included Laphroaig Triple Wood (respect), Glenmorangie Nectar D’or(sweet and nice – great for summer) and Lagavulin DE 1991 (hell yeah!).
A great surprise for me was the Amrut, a very likable whisky – a vanilla bomb that gives way to oak when water is added. As I told the lads last night, I must get a bottle of this Indian magic for my collection. Another great fun was the Smokehead 18 yo – peat, peat and some more peat without the Ardbeg ANB weird sweetness, which I can still not recognize but was compared to baby vomit and condensed milk by someone in the room (no finger-pointing here).
If I’ve mentioned peat, the PC8 is a must try by any peat lover – absolutely smashin’.
Even though the mix of different whisky tastes and strengths was already affecting our palates, when we got to the Jura magic was in the air, at least for me. As I tasted it I was back in the distillery’s filling store listening to the calm voice of Willie Tait, feeling the Jura cool air. This is on helluva Jura!
We finished the evening with filling little 5cl bottles with the whiskies we wanted to taste more properly back home. As I didn’t have any, Gal was generous to give me a few, and now I know I must go and buy some just to be always prepared.
It was an excellent evening, with great whiskies and outstanding companions. The only downside is that now my “Whisky Wish List” just got bigger and my wife won’t like that one bit J
Many thanks to Kfir for having us, to Gal for orchestrating the event, to Igal for the companion and to all for the whisky sharing. After all, whisky is about sharing isn’t it?
Bottom Row From left : Lagavulin distillery only 2010, Ardbeg ANB, Bunnahabhaim 18 PX Feis Ile 2010,Jura Boutique barrel 1999,Ardbeg Rollercoaster. Top Row : Amrut ‘Fusion’ , SmokeHead 18 , Ardbeg Supernova 2010
Can’t wait for the next summit!