What can be more fitting than ending the Jewish year (this one was 5778) with Golani Black an Israeli whisky, made by David Zibell of the Golan Heights Distillery.
This coming Jewish year, 5779, is going to be one of major developments for the distillery, as it moves to a new location, with a set of new, custom made stills. Additionally, Golan Heights’ sister distillery in Jerusalem, is set to go into motion. This is definitely going to be an interesting year for the Israeli whisky scene.
As always with the Golani expressions, this is a two grain mash of malted barley and wheat. Do keep in mind that this is basically a grain whisky that was basically matured in new charred oak casks. Thus, we should be expecting a whisky that’s more like American whiskey than like Scotch, and approach it with that in mind. The casks are casks that David sources from the Golan Heights winery, but shaves them down past the wine penetration, then toasts and chars them (in a process the late Jim Swan dubbed STR), basically creating new (although not virgin) casks.
This time the sample I got was of the 40% expression, not the cask strength bottling sample I usually get. It’s a different experience. This is definitely drinking whisky and despite the ABV, this isn’t a simple whisky.
Golan Heights Distillery Golani Black Cask 54 (40% ABV, NC)
Appearance: Amber, legs are rather quick but quite a bit of residue remains.
Nose: Toffee, nutmeg, fallen leaves on a damp earth, some grain, and vanilla with a hint of the signature mint. Milk chocolate and latte come through after a few minutes.
Palate: Black pepper, bitter citrus rind, vanilla and a hint of coconut. Dry and almost ashy (without the smokiness), almost as if you can taste the char.
Linger: Slightly sour on the sides of the cheeks, cardamon, oaky vanilla, and dryness for quite a while.
The American oak cask here comes through on the palate, not just on the nose. I saved a bit of this sample to compare with a European oak cask I was told is on the way. I have a feeling that at 40%, I’d like the Golani Vino better, so those two would be another interesting comparison.
Official sample by Golan Heights Distillery. Thank you, David and happy new year!