One of us recently had an addition to the family, and as Judaism is both a family- centered and a belief-centered religion, a simcha, or happiness, for one Jew is a celebration for all of the Nation of Israel. So in this case – the birth and naming of Miriam Chaya Tzivia London – everyone gathered had reason to rejoice.
Because spirits stay fresh more or less indefinitely once opened, we had numerous options when the time came for our l’chaim. But the one that compels us to describe it is the Talisker 25-year-old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
Bottled in 2005, from the Isle of Sky (57.2 percent abv; these days selling for $300+ if you can still find it). This golden-colored whisky is earthy, rich and pungent, with bonfire smoke, apple brandy, oak, and some pepper, changing to softer, more floral notes as it breathes. On the palate it starts big, firm and strong, with a complex mix of spice and herbs (including pepper, fennel, bay leaf, and thyme), malt and floral notes, with plenty of that characteristic Talisker pepperiness, traces of peat smoke, a touch of sweetness. The finish is absorbing, lingering and deeply aromatic.
We can also recommend any of these glorious bottles: the Talisker 18, the Laphroaig 18, the anCnoc 16, the Macallan 18, the Glenmorangie Signet, the Single Cask Nation Kilchoman and Arran and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society 29.67 (a 16-year-old Laphroaig).
Also: a stupendous, but now entirely impossible to find, 27-year-old single cask Cardhu single malt from Scotland’s Speyside region (from Duncan Taylor’s Cast Strength Rare Auld range; bottle 69 or 179 from cask #2879).
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