Jaffa's Milk & Honey distillery made history yesterday when it launched the first single malt Israeli whiskey. Was it worth the three year wait?
The nose makes a promise, then it raises questions - and then comes a long extension that produces a taste for more. But wait, the taste of this liquid called "The First Israeli Malt Single" is currently the least relevant thing - and not because it is bad, God forbid.
If there’s something astonishing about the Milk & Honey distillery, it’s actually the fact of it being as strange as its logo (a combination of a bee and a cow). It is almost an antithesis to the "Israeli way" of throwing things together. This well-planned distilllery was built with a large investment via entrepreneur Gal Kalkstein; and from day one was thoughtfully built as a factory that would manufacture about 700 barrels a day. The whiskey was produced under close guidance and quite a bit of trial and error, until it reached its desired result and ... Yes, they have plans not only for the next year or two, but also for the next decade and the one after. And after all that, they still call their whiskey "Israeli"!
Expensive, but worth it
Despite previous and parallel attempts to produce local whiskey, this is the first liquid that is actually distilled from barley and aged in barrels for at least three years. Starting June 7, there will be an online auction of numbered bottles 1-100, and finally, from the middle of June, the remaining bottles will be distributed to the general public at a price of NIS 499 each. Although it is expensive, it's clearly not a whisky for a casual "hang out" with the boys, but actually an investment piece or a limited edition bottle to own as a collecter's item.
And now for taste
It is evident that this whiskey matured quickly. The aroma is strong and exciting, but the body does not necessarily meet the promise of the nose. Fortunately, it has a long finish line that shows someone has done his job properly - even if not perfectly.
The taste of its younger brother, which has aged in Bourbon barrels for only one year, indicates a great potential that with the increase of manufacturing, it will quickly produce quality Israeli whiskey at an accessible price - and not just for collectors.