What is thought to be the world’s first ever ‘whisky menorah,’ built by Desmond Solomon, was unveiled Sunday to mark the Jewish festival of lights.
Dozens of people turned out at Buckhurst Hill Chabad, in Princes Road, to see the seven-foot-high ceremonial candle holder – made of clear pipes – filled with 65 litres of 17-year-old Scottish single malt in celebration of Chanukah.
Whisky from the menorah was then poured from a tap in the structure’s stem and auctioned off in bottles by Rabbi Odom Brandman to raise money for a new centre for the area’s Jewish community.
Rabbi Brandman – who had earlier led the lighting of a publically displayed menorah in nearby Queen’s Road – thanked distillary firm Tullibardine for donating the whisky.
He said: “We like to celebrate Chanukah a little differently, and had a menorah made of old cans last year, and out of chocolate the year before.
“This year we decided to go for the world’s first whisky menorah.
“We knew we needed a lot of whisky, so we contacted distillers Tullibardine who very kindly offered to donate 65 litres for our menorah.
“The whisky itself is really nice. It’s smooth, mellow and has a slightly fruity flavour.
“I have been on a tour of the distillery and the management there have been so helpful, accommodating and as excited as us about making this Menorah really special.”
Chanukah is an eight-day holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Brandman’s cousin, PC Jonathan Brandman – who was one of the officers on duty at the event – was asked to light one of the candles on the Queen’s Road menorah.
He said: “I wasn’t expecting to be asked to be honest.
“It is good to see so many people here enjoying themselves.”