If you remember a few weeks ago i wrote about the Snow Phoneix auction in Israel and asked how much would you pay for a bottle. The auction took place this month, and as promised, The British Ambassador in cooperation with the Israel Importer of Glenfiddich threw a cocktail party, and reception for Israeli journalists and the lucky 45 Isralies who won a bottle of the S.Phoenix. I was very happy after a bit of effort to have been invited to the event. I found this in my Inbox:
It’s not everyday that i have a chance of meeting an ambassador from Britain or any country for that matter, let alone being invited to an event hosted at his house. It’s an honour and a great pat on the back saying “you’re doing something right, Gal” (I hope i am!).
The next day i found myself headed to Ramat-Gan Israel, where the ambassador’s house is located. The Reception was due at 19:00 for the bottle owners, and we ‘journalists’ were invited at 18:00 for a tasting of the Snow Phoenix and some words from the ambassador. Not many journalists were there, and it was rather intimate. It was very hot, outside (Israel in june is usually very hot and humid, and that day unfortunately was no exception) , so i helped myself to a very refreshing cocktail served by the outside bar, decorated with many GF 12 bottles, a rather refreshing gin, cucumber, lemon and some spices, and lots of ice. Yum. I couldn’t quite bring myself to drink whisky in that heat.
I met quite a few very interesting and polite British people, whom i spoke to about, whisky, the blog, and life in Israel. I was also very happy to have met Karen, Head of communications which I’ve been tweeting to for some time now, face to face – a very nice lady, doing a great job social media wise.
The Ambassador and Ilan of Hacerem
Then it was time to stop the mingling and join the ambassador and the Israeli Importers to a first S.Phoenix tasting on the holy land. If you remember I reviewed the SF quite some time ago after buying a bottle from the UK, but the rest were very excited to try it for the first time. The ambassador gave a short speech and first quoted a few very interesting facts about whisky and the British (Scotch) industry:
- Scotch whisky is one of the UK’s leading export industries and is hugely important to both the Scottish and entire British economy.
- The industry contributes almost £1 billion to the UK Treasury each year in excise and VAT
- Whisky exports contribute about £90 per second to the UK balance of trade. Over a billion 70cl bottles were shipped worldwide in 2010.
what was more surprising were the following facts:
- Global Scotch whisky exports by value surpass both cognac and champagne exports combined
- More Scotch whisky is sold in one month in France than cognac in a year
surprising eh? one would think the French would drink more cognac… oh well. (i know they are great whisky drinkers, but did not know to which extent!)
After this short speech, the SF bottle was finally opened by the ambassador and we each got a glass, and stared nosing and enjoying it.
Ambassador Gould uncorking the bottle
Again, I think the SF is a lovely whisky, not very Glenfiddichy, as i’ve tasted it before i did not take notes this time, and just enjoyed a sip. My notes can be found here.
Journalists (I am in the middle, with the purple shirt)
Photographer: Aviv hofi
When asked about the price of bottles sold in the auction the Importer would discolose only that the highest winning bid was ~2300 NIS (around 450 Euros!!, which is a lot of money) where the remaining 44 bottles were sold for less (but i suppose not a lot less).
The Snow Phoenix in my glass
I was happy to also meet Michel who is W.Grant region manager who made his way from Cyprus, and we discussed some whisky matters, and future cooperation possibilities for them and Whisky Israel. A very nice and knowledgably guy.
After a short tasting session, we made our way back into the garden, for some more cocktails, and some cocktail party food. In this stage the rest of the crowed arrived in time for the main event, a whisky tasting of 4 GF expressions. Time passed, and I managed to speak to more interesting people, some friends from the Israeli spirits blogosphere, and one well known Israeli journalist who is a big wine (and apparently whisky ) fan. It was fun, and time flew.
at around 19:30 the ambassador addressed the crowed, and then we were asked to join him around tables for a tasting led by Ilan, of the Hacerem company , importers of GF to Israel. We were about to taste four expressions : starting with the well known 12, then off to the 14 Rich Oak, 15 Solera Reserve and finally the 21 year old Rum cask. Not bad. Having only two blog posts about GF , i was happy to taste those and add my notes of this very popular whisky.
AS i said the whisky tasting was led by the Ilan of Hacerem, and was done very nicely, I have only two comments about it (from a whisky geek perspective): One, the glasses with the whisky sat there for quite some time without being covered, as usually done to prevent oxidation. and Second, is that the entire tasting session was very quick, and in my opinion did not leave the crowd (made mostly of whisky novices) enough time to sniff, taste and appreciate the whisky, but i suppose time was of the essence and the event was not unlimited in time…
tasting mat ready for action 12,14,15,21 year olds
This post is getting way too long, so watch this space for tasting notes coming up next.
I would like to thank Hacerem and the British embassy for their hospitality and for a lovely event.