Golani Black – 5 Year Old (60.4%)

Golani 5 year old!

Wow, this is another milestone for Israeli whisky. Indeed, the first Israeli five year old whisky was bottled by David Zibell’s Golani Distillery. This is the second cask filled by the distillery, cask number 2, that was distilled in September 2014.

I’ve said previously that David is extremely innovative, and it’s nice to hark back to those very early days of experiments. It’s also the time, I think, that I met with David for the first time, and had a chance to taste the new make and we discussed some of my thoughts on it.

I’ve been lucky in being given the opportunity to taste quite a few of the distillery’s casks, as well as almost all the whisky bottlings, many of which were reviewed on my blog (you’ll find them all here). I’ve visited the distillery as recently as early March, and have two more expressions for review in the next few days.

These are exciting times!

And now, it’s on to tasting this beauty:

Golani Black Single Grain Whisky, 5 Year Old, Cask #2, Distiller September 2014, 32% Angel’s Share  (60.4% ABV, Unfiltered, NC)

Appearance: Bronze, very slow evenly separated legs leaving a lot of residue on the glass.

Nose: Opens with the telltale Golani caramel and mint, with some white raisins, red and golden delicious apples and a small touch of charing on the nose. Clove and nutmeg chime in, as well as a tiny herbal note of thyme. At 60.4%, this needs water, which I’ll do after tasting it first neat.
With water: Warm wood spices and a softer caramel, with a bit more sweetness on the nose.

Palate: Apples and cinnamon, though more sour than sweet, with pepper and clove. There’s also a bitter citrus peel on the Palate. The water makes the spice more pronounced

Linger: Spice and caramel linger on the tongue, with cinnamon and oak on the insides of the cheeks. There’s a touch of residual sweetness coming through, with a dryness. The caramel becomes almost like the caramel coating on an apple you’d get at the fair.
With water, the linger gets a tinge of a fruity sourness to it.


The first Israeli five year old expression is a real belter. It’s complex, powerful and interesting. If you can still get your hands on a bottle, you really want to do that.

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