This sample from the Milk & Honey distillery is my next step into the world of Israeli whisky. My only previous experience of Israeli (and this may depend on your political stance) whisky has been a few samples from the Golan Heights Distillery passed on to me by Jason a wee while ago. Although I've only tried the sample from Cask 16, I don't think I was as impressed as he was. As a result, half of it ended up in the infinity bottle which I have affectionately termed the Blend of Doom.
This M&H dram was a bit odd. Acknowledging in advance that it might need a few drops of water, being bottled at 55%, I was wrong; it needed a load of it. In fact, I don't remember ever putting approximately the same amount of water to whisky in order to enjoy it.
There's no indication on the sample given as to how old the whisky is. Bearing in mind that construction of the distillery started in 2014 and distillation started the following year, this is probably around three to four years in age. Obviously we need to take into account the effect on maturation from Tel Aviv's different climate; average temperatures in January are 13 degrees which is essentially the equivalent of a Scottish summer ;-)
The dram itself was, let's say, vibrant. Well, actually, I found it quite harsh and burny until I added a load of water to it. That's when some of the whisky's character started to reveal itself; before that I thought I'd need to spend the rest of the evening glugging on the Gaviscon.
The label states that it's a Single Cask Exclusive Edition. The information I have is that it's a single malt matured in an ex-bourbon cask before being finished in a kosher PX sherry butt limited to 100 bottles. It was originally showcased at The Whisky Show in London but will be available for general release in January 2020.The tasting notes below are after adding plenty of water.
Nose: plenty of red apple initially; there's a hint of damp wood in the background; more orchard fruits - poached pears come to mind; butterscotch sauce together with summer fruits appear after a while; notes of fresh strawberries develop as do tinned clementines with a hint of sherbet.
Palate: silky texture; there's quite the spice kick here with plenty of fresh ginger; the ginger works its way well into the finish where there's dark chocolate with a hint of strawberry. This becomes dry and bitter in a stewed tea kind of way.
Overall: Having tried it both with and without water, in both cases the nose was promising but I got very little on the palate beyond the (tannin led?) cask influence. At least it didn't end up in the Blend of Doom though.
Thanks to the folk at Atom Brands for kindly sending this sample to me.
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