We talked about Scotch before in this blog – actually, one of the very first posts here was about Norma Jean restaurant in Tel-Aviv, great place for scotch lovers (you can find that post here). But “Ode to Scotch”? Well, it downed on me today when I was looking at unopened bottle of 18 years old Laphroaig – the difference between wine and scotch (at least for the person who enjoys both) is that bottle of scotch offers immediate gratification, where bottle of wine often does not. When you buy a bottle of wine, first, it might not be ready to drink right away – it might really benefit, really improve after few years in the cellar. That always presents a dilemma – do I drink it now? May be not, may be I will wait for a few (or ten) years? Another problem is that once you open a bottle of wine, you have a limited amount of time to enjoy it – 2-3 days at the most, and by that time you better be done with it.
A bottle of scotch doesn’t have the same issues. It doesn’t improve in the bottle – therefore, there is no need for aging. It doesn’t go bad once opened, hence you don’t need to wait for that special moment to open that special bottle – you can open a bottle of Scotch at any moment and enjoy.
All of this thought process was taking place while I was admiring a brand new bottle of Laphroaig 18. Laphroaig scotch comes from Islay, a home of smokey scotches, and Laphroaig is one of the smokiest of all. This was a first time I had an opportunity to try 18-years old Laphroaig, as typically it is only a 10 years old version which is available in the stores. This scotch had wonderful complexity, sweet and nutty aromas intermingled with smoke and acidity. Very nice and round, and very enjoyable without the need for splash of water, as some of the scotches do. All in all, great experience.
As an added bonus, I now own a square foot of Islay land which belongs to Laphroaig distillery – one of 380,000 lucky owners. You can own one too – for more information you can click on this link and become a Friend of Laphroaig.
So, what is your favorite scotch?
Let’s set things straight – this post will be more of a photo report. The words fall short to describe an amazing experience at Norma Jean, Bistro/Bar in Tel-Aviv. The best place to sit is in the bar, as stuff is extremely friendly and knowledgeable. You can start with the beer, which comes form all over the world, and needless to say, each served in its own proper glass. While you enjoy your first beer and glass and waiting for the food, your eye can rest on the walls full of scotch:
Among many bars, I’ve seen those where you will pay $500 for a shot, and but I never saw the one with such a selection of really great scotches which you can actually afford!
And then comes food – all fresh, succulent and great tasting:
Of course the next step is the scotch. Based on the friendly recommendation, we couple of new scotches which we never had before. First one was coming form Speyside, a belnd of three different single malts, called Monkey Shoulder in the honor of those who developed a “monkey shoulder” condition throwing peat with the shovel, while making a great scotch for the rest of us:
The next one was Laphroaig Triple Wood, matured in the 3 different kinds of wood barrels, as you can see on the label:
The smoke flavor and bite on this one were immense, like breathing the air coming from the smoker (or may be just chewing on the cigar ). Too strong by itself, addition of 3 drops of water made a miracle – the scotch opened up beautifully, with big flavor profile and lots of depth.
And then… yep, a special dessert for the scotch lovers! Tartufo, made out of the best Belgian chocolate with addition of pepper and scotch:
I know that the picture worth a thousand words, and this is why you can see a lot of pictures. However, one should really experience the taste, this is where picture fails short – and this is why, if you even the smallest opportunity – head to Norma Jean in Tel-Aviv, you will not be disappointed.