If you need any proof of Israel joining the global whisky scene, you need to look no further than the whisky news on the local scene. Whisky Live, which had its first show in Tel Aviv last March, shocked organizers with a very high attendance. Whisky Live Tel Aviv 2015 has been extended to three days (24-26 March, 2015). I got this news at the Malt Mongers Israel Whisky Club’s monthly meeting, a club which didn’t exist this time last year. I got to see many of my club member friends at a “Whisky Day” event held last Friday by Israel’s leading bartender school (the date only coincided with my birthday, but it was nice). This is also evident in the influx of brands being imported into Israel, with rumors of deals being signed for the importation into Israel of Bruichladdich, Inver House, and the BenRiach brands. None of those products are on the ground yet, though, but the Douglas Laing bottlings, however, are.
We reported that Fred visited Israel in the summer to launch the duty free editions of Old Particular (including the infamous Aultmore XO). He was also busy suring up a deal with a local importer who is currently bringing in four single cask offerings in the Provenance range as well as the Douglas Laing vatted malts. Israel is a challenging market for independent bottlers, as its arcane product llicensingregulations require a separate import license for each label, thus making each single cask bottling a “new product” incurring separate licensing fees. Yoav of the Whisky Gospel Blog and I visited Yotam, the importer, tasted the different expressions and I had a chance to meet his staff for an open discussion about the craft and trade of whisky.
The first of the Provenience expressions is the youngish 8 year old Speyburn. A sherry matured spirity whisky, it has two distinct stages in it: the young new make stage and the sweet stage. Reasonably priced and very drinkable, this is an interesting expression from one of Scotland’s most traditional distilleries.
Douglas Laing Provenance Speyburn 8 (46% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Light straw, legs are slow forming and thin.
Nose: At first sweet new make hits the nose with a very floral bouquet and notes of honey and malt. Some time in the glass brings out alot more of the honey with nutty notes and green apples, together with touches of red apples.
Palate: Sweet with honey and lemon drop candy with some fresh peppery spice.
Linger: Medium with light spices high in the throat and citrus notes drying on sides of cheeks.
Youngish and tasty, this sherry butt matured Speyburn is offered in Israel in the price range of the Bowmore Small Batch, Glenlivet 12 and Glenfiddich 12. Being more ininterestingthough younger) than the Speysiders, and infinitely better than the Bowmore, it has a decent VFM compared to local prices.
I tasted the Speyburn during a whisky bloggers visit to Master of Drink, the Israeli importer of the Dougls Laing brands.