This is the first four year old Israeli whisky to hit the market, and the first one to be matured in a Port style cask from Golan Heights T2
The original T2 is made from two Portuguese grape varieties, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cão, grown locally. The 50% Touriga Nacional and 50% Tinta Cão wine was then allowed to ferment, but to maintain the sweetness, the fermentation was cut off with the fortification with brandy. The wine was then put into casks for 26 months in a French Oak cask. If my calculations are correct, these casks would have come from the vintage 2011 T2 .
Golan Heights Distillery, 4 Year Old, Cask 8 T2 Port Style Yarden Cask, Fill date Oct 26 2014 Bottle date Oct 26 2018, Angel Share was 23%, Yield 126 bottles at 46% and 30 bottles at Cask Strength of 62.1(62.1% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Dark copper, very viscous and durable necklace with thin legs.
Nose: As you pour it, there’s a thick red fruit coulis and sweet red wine scent that emanates from the glass, as it just sits there on the table. There’s a deep cinnamon on the nose, with violets and jasmine. Fresh stone fruit cut up in a bowl, with plums, peach, nectarine and apricot. Some dry mineral notes mingle with a hint of sourness (a little like rice vinegar). The fresh stone fruit turns into hints of dried fruit, with some more wood spices such as clove and nutmeg that join the cinnamon. Left in the glass, a fruit cake type sweetness with a vanilla custard.
It’s almost a shame to add water, but for science: More mint and more spice
Palate: Chocolate and fruity sweetness, with mint and pepper thrown in the mix. There’s also sweet wine and that ever present medley of stone fruit. Water brings out more of the spice and the dryness, and makes it more “porty”, taking the whisky a notch back toward the wine, possibly even toward a plum liqueur.
Linger: Milk chocolate and plum marmalade, with white pepper and clove in a dry finish. As time goes on, the white pepper turns to black pepper, and the inner cheeks tingle with the spice. Water makes the finish pepperier and mintier.
This cask is absolutely stellar. You get the mint that’s pretty much the distillery signature, but obviously sans the anise from the Golani casks. The T2 casks are absolutely incredible, imparting a crazy richness to the whisky. I secured myself a couple of bottles of the cask strength edition, and I recommend you get your hands on a bottle of this.