Today I have 3 samples from the Israeli Milk & Honey distillery on the menu for you! Established in 2012, this young distillery started production in 2015. And with the help of the late Dr Swan, who also consulted several other distilleries in the world, they started their journey.
Since the distillery is based in Tel Aviv, Israel you can imagine the influence of the climate is quite different from Scotland. The average temperature is between 13c in January and 26c in July, and the humidity percentage is anything between 50-90%. Which means their whisky will mature about 2-2.5 times faster than Scottish whisky. Quite the difference eh!
Now the distillery is open for a few years, they have released 2 single malts, both limited editions and long sold out, but the first core range expression is only expected at the end of the year. Until then there is the cask series, a series of spirit that is still too young to be called whisky, but which they say is the link between their new make and that single malt. And all the samples that I’m having here are from that series.
Milk And Honey, the Last One
So the 1st one I’m tasting is The Last One. 😉 It’s from their Young Single Malt series and this will be the last one before they release their first commercial single malt at the end of the year. The casks they used for this youngster are the same as they will use for that single malt. So it is actually a preview of what you can expect, although this is only 12 months old.
The Last One has matured in ex-red wine and ex-bourbon casks and is bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Malt, powdering sugar en some lemon. Then this is followed by red berries. A hint of ginger. And some cinnamon in the background. A bit of liquorice. Later also a bit grassy.
Taste: Slightly flat compared to the nose. A hint of lemon. Malt. A honey-like sweetness. A little liquorice here too. Some spices in the end, black pepper?
Finish: The finish is mid-long to long with lingering spices. And honey.
It isn’t whisky yet and you can taste that. The nose is nice, but it still lacks something in the taste. It is somewhat flat compared to the nose. Still, everything changes quite often in taste, which actually makes it interesting. If that continues to develop, then it will be fine.
Milk & Honey, Triple Cask
The next one is the Triple Cask, also from their Young Single Malt series. This is a blend of 3 casks and is younger than 1 year old.
This Triple Cask has matured in an ex-bourbon barrel, an ex-red wine
cask and an ex-Islay barrel and is bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Very restrained at first but this is getting better after giving it a bit of time. Honey, then popcorn. Followed by a layer of peat. A little bit malty, but not much. Some citrus here too. Pencil shavings.
Taste: Raw and peaty at first. Honey again. Somewhat creamy. A hint of anise. Lemons here as well. And peppery.
Finish: Long and very peppery.
This is not my thing. A bit unbalanced and there is a certain taste in it that I cannot live with. I do not know. Too bad. It is restrained and simply not developed enough. It certainly has potential, but I think it is too young to be bottled.
Milk & Honey, The Benelux Edition
This one is exclusively bottled for the Benelux market and is around 1 year old. Another youngster, but this one was bottled at 57% ABV.
The Benelux Edition has matured in a red wine cask.
Nose: This smells very nice. Quite fresh at first: lemons, limes. Unripe pears. Followed by red apples. And later forest fruit, such as blueberries, red berries. A hint of biscuits too.
Taste: Sweet red grapes. Blueberries. There is a little bit of honey. Biscuits. And some lemon in the background. Some sugary sweetness.
Finish: short to mid-long. Sweet.
Unbelievable that it’s not even a year old. It already has so much taste and almost tastes like a single malt already. I’m very surprised by this and certainly the best of the 3 for me. I am curious how this will develop, as it seems that the wine cask has a particularly high influence here. And I wonder if this will still be drinkable when it is about 4-5 years old. But this release is nice.
Many thanks to Milk & Honey and Bresser & Timmer for the samples!