Oct 062020
 

Following the very well received M&H Classic (reviewed here), the distillery’s Master Distiller, Tomer Goren, went on to create three permanent expressions, each highlights a cask type used by the distillery to bring out different aspects of its character.

All three are bottled at 46% ABV, and include:

  • Elements Red Wine Cask – Matured in barrels from Israeli wineries, and bring out the full wine maturation experience, as opposed to the more stirpped down experince of STR casks.
  • Elements Sherry Cask – This whisky was matured in sherry casks seasoned in Jerez exclusively for the distillery using kosher certified sherry, making this the only sherry matured expression with a kosher certification. The question of whisky and non kosher wine/sherry casks is too complex to enter and I’m not a Rabbi, but with a certificate, it really doesn’t matter, now does it?
  • Elements Peated – Curiously, we’re lacking the word ‘Cask’ on the label.  Also, this expression is the only one of the Elements series that is made by blending the ex-Islay cask matured whisky with ex-bourbon cask whisky. I think not mentioning the cask is leaving the door open for actual M&H peated whisky to be bottled as one of the Elements, either as part of a vatting or on its own. Interesting.

Israel's First Whisky Is Launching in the U.S. – Robb Report

Our Products - M&H Whisky DistilleryM&H Elements Red Wine Cask (46% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Gold with a tinge of reddish hue, thin legs running down glass.

Nose: Malt and red fruit, with a hint of vanilla custard and red plums, with hints of honey and spice.

Palate: Sweet attack with red fruit and raisins, followes by gentle wood spices. There’s a tannic dryness on the palate.

Linger: Spicy and warm, with sweetness on the tongue, dryness on the inside of the cheeks and a spicy linger all over and down the gullet.

Conclusion

Extremely drinkable. This might just be my favorite Element, as I do appreciate wine matured whisky.

Very well done M&H, kudus Tomer!

Official sample was provided by M&H Distillery.

Aug 262020
 

I like whisky in wine casks, and have reviewed the Golani Vino previously. However, it has come to my attention that the profile of the vino has changed lately, using Cabernet casks from the Golan Heights Winery. I have gotten a sample of the cask strength version from David at the distillery to try, and what can I say, it’s really gorgeous.

The Golani whisky is a two grain whisky, both wheat and malt. There’s some of the wheat softness in there, but don’t think grain whisky here, even though that’s what it is technically. This is a complex and deep expression that will keep your interest in the glass and for a while after sipping it.

 

Golani Vino Cabernet Oak, Cask 72 (55.3% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: The first thing that you notice is the deep bronze color. The whisky leaves a thin and sturdy necklace with very slow legs.

Nose: Red fruit, cinnamon, hints of poached pears in wine and clove, baking bread and a bit of minced mint leaves. Sultana raisins appear with time.

Palate: Sweet black licorice washes across the palate, some spice and a deeper sweetness, sort of a date honey sweetness.

Linger: Still with the sweet licorice, hints of white pepper and a tangy dryness, with warming spices down the gullet. The inside of the cheeks feel extra dry, with the wine tannins. The linger is really long.

Conclusion

This is really an exceptional cask, and this is going to be the new standard for the Golani Vino. What can I say other than get yourself a bottle of this at cask strength, you’ll thank me.

May 062020
 

The 2020 Whisky Live Tel Aviv was scheduled for March and like every other whisky event all over the world, was postponed.

Photo Credit: M&H

This expression was supposed to be the Whisky Live bottling, and once it was clear that the event was not going to be held on the alternative dates proposed for mid-May, it was offered as the “Staying Whisky a Live in Tel Aviv”, obviously invoking this:

The whisky was matured in Israeli red wine casks, and I have commented at a relatively early stage that the M&H spirit does well with wine casks. Indeed, this expression brings out both the fruitiness and the spice the spirit carries, taking it to the red fruit and wood spices in this case.

This edition is extremely limited, and has only 100 bottles produced. Each bottle is accompanied with a distillery branded face mask.

Photo Credit: M&H

 

Photo Credit: Yuval Goldberg

Milk and Honey Distillery – M&H Staying Alive in Tel Aviv – COVID-19 Edition, Israeli Wine Cask, 100 Bottles (55% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Deep gold, small legs rolling down off a sturdy necklace visible after long minutes.

Nose: Warm wood spices, namely cinnamon and clove, apple pie and red berries. The wine takes this expression to a very warm place on the nose. After time in the glass, some floral notes join in, with a light note of honeysuckle.

Palate: Starts out sweet , with some fruity red wine notes and a hit of bitter citrus, turning spicy and dry while keeping the citrus rind note.

Linger: Red fruit sweetness on the tongue, pepper down the gullet, and a tangy dryness on the inside of the cheeks. The finish is rather long with the fruity sweetness remaining discernable, right alongside the dry bitterness of citrus.

Conclusion

The M&H spirit does really well with red wine casks. You’ll recall I was following one of the earliest wine casks (cask 003) from the start. This expression is a beautiful example of the interaction of the spirit and  the wood. If you can get hold of one, it’s a lovely bottle to enjoy.

Official 5cl smaple bottle was provided by the distillery.

Apr 052020
 

Every once in a while distilleries get really special casks. They get filled, monitored regularly, and at one point they’re deemed ready to be bottled. Now the question is, what do they do with them? Most would probably opt for a bottle your own option, while others would go with a single cask offering. Others may be too big for dealing with single casks, and would sell it off to an independent bottler. This Golani unicorn cask was to be a bottle your own at Whisky Live Tel Aviv 2020, but given the COVID-19 outbreak, that doesn’t seem to be on the books.

I had a chance to visit the distillery with a good friend who came in from Finland in early March, just before international travel became crazy (on non existent, now) and social distancing became an issue. I had a chance to sample this cask during my visit. Things being as they are, David is going to bottle this cask at the distillery and offer it for sale through his website.

Everything about this unicorn cask is special. Firstly, this is single malt new make, comprised of three different types of malt: Pale ale malt, pilsner malt and lightly peated malt.  This cask is a 110 liter French Oak barrique, which held a naturally fermented sour wind (ancient style wine). Given the small amount this cask yielded, it will be sold in 250 ml bottles.

 

Golani Single Malt Unicorn Cask 27, Distilled 1/2017, Bottled 4/2020, French Oak Red Wine Barrique (110 Liter), Cask Yield 71.9 Liters, or 34.6% Angel’s Share (57.7% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Copper, with a reddish hue. The legs form really slowly off a very solid necklace.

Nose: Sweet orange flavored chocolate, freshly ground cinnamon, coffee and a very distinct note of apricot jam. There’s a tiny whiff of Golani mint in there, but it plays hide and go seek within the woody notes. Toasted oak and some damp earth. As it rests in the glass, you get more of a floral red wine, together with some maltiness and a hint of lightly burnt cereal, with a very earthy aroma to it.
Water brings out more of the tannins and the sweetness of the wine.

Palate: Thick with spice and mint, some macerated fruit and a tannic dryness. The macerated fruit is more like the dried fruit you get in a dried fruit cake, not in the berry sense of it. Water is your friend for the palate on this one, and while it brings out more of the spiciness, it also rounds it out for and brings out more sweetness. With water and enough time, you’ll be able to make out the peat in it.

Linger: Wow, this Linger is sweet with a lot of spice and a very interesting mintiness, which is definitely part of the Golani DNA. In the background, you’ll also get some tartness from the naturally fermented wine. It turns into a dryness that will have you thinking of this dram for a while.

Conclusion

That last note on the nose I got before adding water, the burnt cereal, took about 15 minutes in the glass to appear. There is the little bit of peated malt that went into making this whisky. If you’re impatient with this dram, you’ll miss it.
While you definitely still have the mint, the caramel and licorice are absent, and the wine really takes this expression in a different, and fascinating direction.
This is definitely a bottle you want to have, especially if you’ve tasted other Golani single casks (or if you haven’t, make sure to save some of this one for when you get the next).

Nov 192017
 

My last visit to Scotland was a short one, following the London Whisky Show. Short or long, though, a stop at Glen Garioch in Oldmeldrum is a must, as there’s a new bottle your own cask on tap from their two or three that are regularly available. The new cask is a first fill red wine barrique, filled in 1999. Knowing how fabulously Glen Garioch spirit interacts with wine casks from the 1998 Wine Cask Matured (reviewed here), getting a bottle was a no brainer. I will say that I’m still debating if the 1998 Wine Cask should be counted among the Vintage series, since they were all bottled at cask strength and the 1998 was bottled at the Garioch strength of 48%.

Last year, I picked up a stunning sherry matured bottle (see visit recap and review here), and this year it’s a first fill wine barrique. I tasted it at the distillery, and enjoyed it immensely. It’s now time to sit down and spend some real time with it.

 

Photo Credit: thegreenwellystop.co.uk

Glen Garioch Bottle Your Own, 1999 First fill Red Wine Barrique 1420, Distilled 9 June 1999, 18 Years Old (56.5% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Reddish copper, quite viscous with slow legs peeling off a sturdy necklace.

Nose: A very warm nose, with gingerbread, spices, orange blossom, freshly ground cloves, red berries – blueberries, raspberry and strawberries, and you do get hints of the wine. Later some minty notes appear with oak.

Palate: Wood spices, rose petals, pepper and hints of strawberry. A bit of water strengthens the spice and it’s full of oaky tannins and some saltiness.

Linger: Citrus and spice, a sweet and dry linger, with a dryness on the inside of the cheeks. With water the spices and dryness are increased.

Conclusion

This dram isn’t playing around. This is serious stuff, not to be taken lightly and not for casual sipping. You’ll want to give this dram time, and have a pipette with water around, as you’re in for a ride. I will say that I can actually understand why the 1998 Wine Cask Matured was bottled at 48%, as there’s something wildly intense in the cask strength expression.

I’ll mention that I have a 15 year old Bordeaux Wine Cask Finish from the old days at 50%. That will have been peated malt, and when it gets here I plan to taste the 15 year old Bordeaux against this cask and the 1998. That should be a fascinating comparison.