It’s been ages since I wrote about a Whiskey Club meeting, because we haven’t had one in quite some time. So, after a long break, we finally met at the Bergen Whiskey Club to taste some Single Cask Nation whiskies and celebrate two years—yes, two years!! Who would have believed it? The club is two years old but hasn’t shown any signs of the “terrible twos”!

Honestly, it wasn’t planned this way, but the meeting with Joshua Hatton from Single Cask Nation fell exactly on the same day, 24 months ago, when Elad Jt, the king, visited us for the first time and opened our club in a way that remains unforgettable to all of us to this day. When I started the club two years ago, I thought we might be 7-15 people. Every day, I am grateful and excited about what it has become—a small Israeli community abroad, united around the water of life.

I met Joshua Hatton through a distribution company that brings Milk & Honey here, and he helped me secure 75 bottles of Sherry Cask for the club at a time when it was impossible to find. A few weeks later, I met him at a Burns Supper of the Scottish Cultural Preservation Society and connected with Single Cask and his excellent podcast. Each time, I discovered another layer of Joshua, and just this process was fun. For example, the other day, I discovered he holds the prestigious title of Keeper of the Quaich, a distinction held by only 2,600 people worldwide, an honor for those who have greatly contributed to the preservation and development of whiskey culture. Respect!

I’m so excited to see and meet people who speak about whiskey with such passion even after so many years. Also, remember that Single Cask Nation won the Best Independent Bottler award for 2024 and was acquired by Artisanal Spirits, which owns thousands of rare barrels from every distillery you can think of.

Well, let’s get to the tastings!

We started with Linkwood 13-year-old, 54.8% First Fill American Oak Hogshead. It was an interesting, sweet, light, and tasty opening. There was a discussion about how rare it is to find Linkwood not in a Johnny Walker blend. Its primary use is in Johnny Walker, but it can be found under independent bottlers.

The second tasting surprised me a lot and was my favorite, mainly because of the surprise and change in flavors. Ardnamurchan 5-year-old, 58.3%, First Fill Oloroso Hogshead. On the nose, it was sweet, but in the mouth—what is this? Salt, earth—something completely different. And when I returned to it at the end of the tastings, it was sweet and wonderfully full. It developed beautifully! Douze points.

The third was a strong contender for the favorite of the evening and a distillery that was unanimously loved or loved by most that evening—Dailuaine 13-year-old, 53.4%, First Fill Sherry Hogshead. Hands down, excellent and superb, rich, sweet. Without the element of change and surprise from the Ardnamurchan, I would likely have chosen Dailuaine as my favorite of the evening. What is known as I DO!

Next up—he’s a horse! Just kidding, no horses. Next was Ardmore 25-year-old, 46.7%, First Fill Bourbon Hogshead. I expected a lot because of the age. It was tasty, no doubt, but there was nothing surprising or different about it, so it got a relatively low rating from me compared to the two above.

The fifth—our community manager’s favorite, Caol Ila 8-year-old, 52.5%, Refill Bourbon Hogshead. Look, my relationship with Caol Ila is very complicated. Despite being a contender for the smoke crown in Islay, and despite being a Laphroaig girl at heart and perhaps because of it, I just can’t connect with it. One day, it will happen.

Josh treated us to two surprise tastings! The sixth was super interesting! A bottling of Westward—a distillery with a beer background from Portland—6 years old. If there’s one drink I can’t connect with, it’s beer. Despite my father raising me on Goldstar and letting me drink the foam, maybe that’s why? I don’t know. I don’t connect. And the taste of Westward whiskey has a beer taste! Even the texture is bubbly. It fascinates me and isn’t tasty to me at the same time. This bottle got the star of the evening and received many orders.

The last tasting was rum! Because this is my rum year 🙂 from which, of course, I enjoyed immensely—Thornton K for P Rum, the distillery with a fun intended.

It was a wonderful evening, rich in stories, flavors, and laughs. Josh is a Morrissey fan, and the evening was accompanied by the soundtrack of The Smiths. I allow myself to change Josh’s name in my phone to “This Charming Man.”

The Beatles said all we need is love, and these meetings are exactly that—love.

To many more!!

As Josh taught me, Slainte Tov!

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