The M&H distillery claims to be the first whisky distillery in Israel. Its name “M&H” stands for “Milk and Honey”, which on my guess is a reference to the biblical Israel being referred to as the land of milk and honey. The M&H distillery distils and matures its whisky in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, which sits near the coast of the Mediterranean sea.
The distillery’s flagship single malt is called, perhaps predictably, the “Classic”. It is comprised of whiskies that have been aged in ex-bourbon and ex-red wine “STR” casks. The term “STR” stands for Shaved, Toasted and Re-charred. So, an STR cask would be a cask that had some of the wine stained oak shaved away before it is toasted and re-charred. This shaving off of some of the red wine staining, as you’d expect, turns the cask into something between a red-wine cask and a new “virgin” oak cask.
Colour: Pale straw
Smell: Light and fragrant, with very clean cereal notes and the smell of a barley rich wash. This is a young whisky which has some soft red berry, caramel and wood tannin aromas.
Taste: The whisky has big bold orange peel flavour and surprisingly heavier red wine flavours than the nose suggests, but what particularly dominates this whisky is the taste of oak – there are lots of tannins that taste like tea leaves and cocoa, and towards the finish the wood takes on a peppery and spicy tone.
Finish: Tannin rich, the finish tastes of tea leaves and spicy tobacco.
Overall: This is a young whisky with lots of mouth puckering tannic wood flavour, perhaps a reflection that when whisky ages in warmer climates like Israel it will have more interaction with oak casks than it would in colder climates, like Scotland. Climate seems to influence the way whisky matures, and this new Israeli whisky is yet another example of the way warmer climates can produce unique whiskies that can be wood driven and yet still retain the malty profile of a young single malt whisky.