Jewish whiskeys for members only


jewbilee_bottleI just got back from attending the fifth annual Jewish Whisky Co.’s fabulous “Whisky Jewbilee NYC,” held at Studio450 in Manhattan The once-again sold out 450-person glatt kosher catered event focused on fine spirits, cigars, great food and general bonhomie with a couple of hundred whiskeys from Scotland, United States, Japan, Ireland, Canada, India, England and even France.

The JWC is the commercial brainchild of Joshua Hatton, Jason Johnstone-Yellin and Seth Klaskin. The company is set up as a private membership society “faithfully dedicated,” to use their own words, “to independently bottling the world’s finest and rarest single cask whiskeys for the diverse members of Single Cask Nation.” I’ve been a proud and happy member since its inception, and I’ve not encountered a mediocre SCN bottling yet.

This year’s Jewbilee included many outstanding whiskeys, too many to mention all at once. Here are three whiskeys available only to members of the Single Cask Nation (the cheapest membership is $36):
Single Cask Nation, Cooley Distillery 13 year old Single Malt Irish Whiskey, Refill Oloroso Sherry Butt (54.8 percent abv; $105; Cask # 200201 which yielded just 252 bottles): a sweet, deep fruity, intricate, distinctly Irish whiskey nose develops on the complex, rich, oily and rewarding palate to lovely notes of crisp apples, sweet stewed prunes, apricots and blood oranges, pears, honey, malted barley, vanilla, oak and spice (ginger, cinnamon, muted black pepper or perhaps freshly cracked white pepper), with a honey-laced fruity finish and a gentle kiss of caramelized ginger and orange peel. A bit of water open the nose, tones down the fruity sweetness, ups the oak and spice, brings out the lushness of the body a bit in the mouth. Overall, seriously and powerfully good Irish malt whiskey.

Single Cask Nation, Tobermory Distillery 10 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Heavily Peated, Refill Ex-Bourbon Hogshead (56.7 percent abv; $105; Cask #101 which yielded just 235 bottles): This relatively young is an exemplary version of the “Ledaig” (pronounced “Le’chig”) style of this distillery; it was actually the original name of the distillery, but now reserved for the peated version of the single malt produced by Tobermory, the only distillery on the Inner Hebridean Isle of Mull, off the west coast of Scotland. With a pungent nose of earthy, briny, slightly smoky, slightly vanilla tinged, cereal and fruit, leading to a fine oily palate of sweet peat smoke, citrus fruit, vanilla and salt water taffy, ending in a slight creamy, slightly buttery, slightly briny, beef jerky savory-ness with an inviting candied fruit sweetness, and descending to a lovely smoldering peat smoke finish. This is awesome whisky.

Single Cask Nation, Glen Elgin Distillery 18 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Bourbon Cask (54.9 percent abv; $148; Cask #1661 which yielded just 277 bottles): sweet, malty, cereal nose with lovely floral accents, and hints of citrus, peach and honey; with time (and a few drops of water) these open wide and deep, with peach gaining strength, giving way to some intriguing tropical notes (like ripe to overripe pineapple), with oddly complementary pine tree creeping in. Warm and creamy, yet somehow light and fresh on the palate, with more of that lovely malty and cereal sweetness, a touch of ginger and white pepper, and some light yet discernible tannic oak notes that give way to both vanilla and an intriguing nuttiness. The short-yet- mouth-watering finish leads inexorably to another dose. Overall, this is a complex, absorbing, rewarding and extremely satisfying whisky. L’chaim!

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