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The best of 2013

28 December 2013 1,040 views Written by: Gal Granov

This is the very last weekend of 2013, and It’s time for summing things up. I thought about making my : best whiskies for 2013 before XMAS as a shopping list, but I did not get to it, and thought it was not that necessary. But, 2013 was a great year in terms of whisky at Whisky Israel towers.

1.A great year for whisky fans  in Israel

2013 was indeed a great year for Israeli whisky fans, in July the silly and quite insane Tax laws concerning whisky have  changed, and since then prices have been on the drop. Some whiskies dropped  30-50% in price, and we’re experiencing a very humble renaissance of whisky in the holy land with names such as : Glenfarclas, Arran and other distilleries who never sold here, coming over and starting to do business. It’s become much more of a reality now (like in most proper countries ), where you can into a liquor shop and buy a whisky for under 50 EUR without giving it too much thought.

2.An Israeli whisky distillery is in the making

You must have all heard about it on the blog or on my FB page, and if you have not, it’s time you heard. An all Israeli distillery was founded  earlier this year, and production should start early 2014. Real artisan single malt. Equipment is here, and so is money and the people , so it should be very interesting soon.

3.A great year for the blog

Whisky Israel is growing in terms of views, uniques and readership is really up from last year (more figures and stats on another post later on). I’ve samples a lot of whiskies, some were excellent, some were amazing, some were nice, and some were, well…  Meh. I am not really keeping track of how many I’ve sampled this year (new whiskies never sampled before), but it should be somewhere in the 300-400 range.  I’ve posted 230 posts which is about 1 post ever 1.5 days… Not bad.

I thought about summing up the best whiskies of 2013 as I remember them now. Sorry if I’ve missed anything truly (I am quite senile, yes). I know most of those whiskies are beyond the reach of many (surely, beyond mine), but they are not to be penalized as such, and there are quite a few we can afford who are extraordinary! so, let’s roll!

Ultra Expensive:

Karuizawa 1964, 57.7% – Number One Drinks

This dram is by far one of the best I’ve EVER had, and certainly one of the oldest and rarest. Priced at about 10,000 you can still get a bottle on MOM if you have the money, or willing to sell an organ. I think it’s worth it. Who needs to hands? But seriously. It’s beyond “good”. I’m lucky to have sampled it. and very very thankful.

karuizawa-1964-48-year-old-single-cask-japanese-malt-whisky

Glendronach 1971 cask #1246 – 42 yo

An older Dronach, single cask,sherry, and so very fine. You can not wish for anything nicer in that Genre.

Balblair 1969 vintage

I was lucky to be able to try this one, and blog all about it in the Balblair “Gathering place” blog. I knew it should be good, but had no idea how good it actually was. Older than I am by 6 years, and so vibrant. wow.

Isle Jura 39 3/4 year old.

a sneak peek into a 40 year old Jura to be released next year I was glad to have tasted on a twitter tasting event. Brilliant.

Affordable (but not cheap) whiskies :

Balblair 1990 Islay Cask 1466

A really surprising whisky from Balblair. 1990 vintage that spent time in ex-peated casks. I was blown away, from how good it was. Balblairs are great, but this one. Oh my. If you can find one on the secondary market, get it. It was a one off UK only release. Happy to have secured one for myself.

BenRiach 2005 cask # 3782 / 8 yo Peated  Virgin American Oak Finish

A brilliant young peated BR. well priced at around 40 quid. I loved it: with it’s peaty tang, huge body, and complexity. It was one of my fav. of that batch of single casks.

Caol Ila 27yo, 1984, 56.1% – Signatory for LMDW

A sample i got from Shai (@dsappl) who was a good friend of the blog this year. A truly stunning older Caol Ila. say no more.

BenRiach 1976 cask # 2013 , 37 yo

An older sibling of cask #3782. It’s superb. if not very cheap. But it’s under 500 which make it sub-ultra-premium.

Daily Drams which rocked 2013

Glendronach Cask Strength Batch #2

Super sherry bomb at CS. affordable, daily dram. that is amazing. (now available in batch #3) for around £51 it’s a great deal.

Aberlour a’Bunadh Batch 45

even cheaper than the GD CS, this batch is one of the better I’ve had. Strong, kicking, whisky as it should be. Sherry fans, you have to get that (if you have not done so yet).

Amrut Single Cask, Port pipe, peated

AN Indian whisky that blew my mind. Port pipes, peated, and heavily peated mind you. It’s a gem. get one now before they are all gone.

Bowmore Laimrig 15 yo

One of the best Islays I’ve tried this year. 15 yo, at CS. wham! it’s brilliant stuff. Not available in all countries, but if you can score one – do not hesitate.

So there you have it. best drams of 2013. Let’s just hope that 2014 is even better for whisky worldwide!

Slainte!

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  • Amit

    May 2014 bring you as many good sample as did 2013. And may you continue to live happily and write about all of then!

    • http://www.whiskyisrael.co.il Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

      Thanks mate!