Beth Sholom Congregation’s annual Guys Night Out & Seder Summit is a consistently fun and rewarding pre-Passover evening, a three-legged stool of booze, camaraderie and holiday learning. It was held at the Orthodox synagogue in Potomac on March 14.
Each year, I’m in charge of getting distilleries and wineries to donate their products and to send someone to dispense them for an always-enthusiastic crowd. (I do not monetarily benefit from the event.)
This year, 15 whisky companies and one kosher wine purveyor were on hand, pouring more than 80 different distilled spirits and 12 different wines. To accompany this was a menu of beef ribs, plus fried chicken, sausage, French fries and coleslaw.
Here are three highlights from the whisky attendees sampled:
From Alexander Murray & Co.’s table of exceptional independently labeled single malts, I was particularly wowed by their Allt-a-Bhainne 21 Year Old, distilled in 1995 (retails around $130): This is a whisky that isn’t often seen as a single malt (nearly all of it goes to the blenders), but here offered a delicately sweet, fragrant, fruity and nicely complex character.
Beam Suntory, one of the industry giants, brought us three fantastic expressions of Laphroaig (one of my all-time favorite Scotch whisky distilleries): They brought the 10-year-old cask strength ($60+), the Quarter Cask ($60-ish), and the classic 10 year old ($50+). All three are variations on the same gorgeous if intense mélange of peat smoke, iodine, vanilla and fruit.
From the Jewish Whisky Company’s Single Cask Nation brand was the delicious Tormore 21 year old ($150): This cask-strength (49 percent abv.) beauty from Speyside offers sweet and delicate nose of stone fruits, citrus, cereal grains, a hint of vanilla, a little honey and a slightly fennel-like green, powdery, aniseedy note. These follow through on the moderate-weighted palate, though a bit sweeter and a little more grain driven, with vanilla, ground pepper and a subtle smoke on the nicely lingering finish. L’chaim!
Fill Joshua E. London’s email bag with your questions about wine and spirits: [email protected].