David Zibell, the proprietor of Golan Heights Distillery doesn’t stop even for a moment, and right after getting his three year old single malt launched (see here), he’s on to giving the basic core range whisky, the Golani Two Grain Sour Mash, its spiffed up permanent form, appearing as releases of single numbered casks in two versions: Golani Black and Golani Vino.
Golani Black is a made of a two grain – wheat and malted barley – sour mash, and is matured for three years in new charred American Oak casks, not unlike what bourbon makers would use in the United States, obviously with a corn based mash. The series also includes Golani Vino, matured in Cabernet casks, which will be reviewed tomorrow, and Golani, which is a vatting of the Black and the Vino, giving a Double Wood matured whisky.
The standard version of all Golani products is sold at 40%, and a new cask will be released every six months. It’s worth mentioning, though, that cask strength versions will be available at the distillery, which is the versions I’m tasting. Currently, we’re enjoying cask 18, bottles of which are already on the market.
Golan Heights Distillery – Golani Black Single Cask 18, New Charred American Oak (58.6% ABV, NC)
Appearance: Chestnut color, very slow and thin legs.
Nose: Toffee, orange liqueur, honeysuckle, baking shortbread, orange blossom and vanilla. Some time brings out a hint of tropical fruit that’s almost fully ripe, and water takes it a bit to the buttery and pastry side.
Palate: Sweet and full of licorice – specifically the candy-coated pieces of licorice, very soft in the mouth with light pepper and a hint of chocolate spread (not with the nuts, though). It has a really creamy mouth feel.
Linger: Just like after a high quality licorice candy, also with spice around the gullet and a pretty long lasting linger, remaining predominantly sweet.
The wheat softens the whisky makes it highly drinkable even at cask strength. Of course, it’s going to be hitting the market at 40%, so the intensity of the licorice will be diminished, and the drinkability probably heightened.
This is surprisingly intense and really outstanding for what is, essentially, a three year old grain whisky. The combination of the warm climate with the high quality wood, aided, I think, by the high proportion of barley really works well. I really look forward to tasting the Vino and the Double Wood in the coming days.
Official sample provided by Golan Heights Distillery.