I love the process of seeing a new distillery get started and make its first steps. When David Zibell stated Golani over five years ago, he had a clear vision of making whisky also in Jerusalem, with its own distinct character. It took a few years, but Yerushalmi Distillery is up and running, and has been distilling single malt, gin and rum.
The distillery style is one using peated malt (at 35 ppm) and I guess that we’ll discover the rest of the distillery character as the whisky develops toward the three year mark.
Both the new make and the young single malts show promise, and at this time we’ll be taking a look at the new make and at the same new make after about six months in cask. I’ll continue to update you as we go along, tasting the single malt as it makes its way toward becoming whisky, at three years of age.
Yerushalmi Distillery New Make (~70% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Clear and colorless (duh…), very thick and viscous, almost oily very slow to roll down the glass.
Nose: Light smokiness in a very malty and grainy notes. A briny, crushed black pepper
Palate: Very smoky, with a surprising gentleness, followed by black pepper and a subtle fruitiness.
Linger: The linger is a pretty spicy peated malt taste you have left in your mouth after chewing on some malt on a distillery tour on Islay.
I’d classify this as a more grainy new make, as opposed to the more fruity or floral ones out there. But it has a certain…..I guess I’d call it grace. I think this new make would be absolutely fabulous after say four years (this is Israel, with our heat here, that’s plenty of time) in a lovely sherry or Port cask….
I’m really looking forward to see where this distillery is going.
Luckily, I’m already able to see the first step, at around the six month point, as I have the inaugural bottling of the (very young) single malt. This whisky sat in a charred French Oak cask
Yerushalmi Peated Single Malt, 108 Bottles in a Charred French Oak Cask (46% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Gold, thin legs forming pretty quickly.
Nose: Almost no new make on the nose, which is pretty surprising, the malt and the smokiness are present, as is a new note of meat on the grill. There’s also a light floral hit, with time in the glass bringing out some honey.
Palate: Starts with the peat very much in the front, moving on to sweetness with a hint of chocolate, and ending up in a slightly bitter and somewhat sour minty note. The mintiness and the peat are a bit weird together, but let’s hope this is something the maturation will take care of on its own.
Linger: Here’s where the spirit still really needs time, as the Linger is focused more on the estery notes of the sour mint before moving on to sweetness and a residual smokiness in the mouth.
Six months in, this is very surprising. The spirit has gone a pretty long way from the new make, and this is without experiencing a single Israeli summer in the Jerusalem foothills. I thing the spirit shows great promise and I really look forward to tasting one of these casks in October, after the summer.
All in all, if peated whisky is your thing, this is a distillery to put on your radar and start following it.