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.
It was June 2018, and we had zigzagged our way around the cobble stone streets of Rome, the hilly Tuscan towns of Pienza and Montepulciano, the picturesque seaside village of Lacco Ameno in Ischia, the ruins of Pompeii, and, finally, the chaotic city of Naples.
About one hundred years ago, shortly after the United States introduced prohibition, the residents of Templeton, a small town in Iowa, started bootlegging hooch made from molasses. It wasn’t long until this hooch found its way to the speakeasies of Chicago, where, the story goes, it was discovered by mobster Al Capone. Back in 1920s Templeton, stills remained hidden under pigeon pens and code (such as white horses being placed in front of farmhouses) was used to signal that new batches were ready for distribution. When prohibition ended in 1933, though, Templeton’s story fell silent and the brand was forgotten as whiskey makers eventually dominated the (now legal) market. But, in 2006, a brand of whiskey called “Templeton Rye” was created to pay tribute to Templeton’s bootlegging past, and now this (very much legal) whiskey is available in the United States, Canada and Australia.
Compass Box are whiskymakers who craft whisky by blending whiskies from different distilleries and batches, thereby creating unique flavour profiles from what is essentially a concoction of “ingredient” whiskies. This is the art of whisky blending. Blending to create a whisky that matches the blue print in one’s mind is much harder than it sounds or looks (as I learned aboard the Glenfiddich Whisky Wanderer!). Trying to unpack a whisky blender’s creation is even harder. To help unravel their complex whiskies, though, Compass Box provide a break down of the “ingredients” that go into each of their whiskies. Trying to piece together the puzzle of a Compass Box whisky by smell and taste is, in my experience, a lot of fun.
The newly released trio of limited edition Compass Box whiskies that sit before me ready to be tasted are Compass Box The Circle, Compass Box Affinity, and Compass Box No Name No. 2.
On a particularly cold Friday evening I ventured into the Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show on Glenfiddich’s invitation to board the Glenfiddich Whisky Wanderer, a 1972 vintage bus which has been converted into a whisky bar on wheels! Australian chef Matt Moran introduced us to what he loved about Glenfiddich and then the distillery’s brand ambassador, Luke Sanderson, took us on board for a very special evening of whisky tasting and blending, and to craft our very own Glenfiddich single malt from the three core ingredients used to create Glenfiddich’s 15 year old solera.
Valero and Elisa Jimenez established the Joadja Distillery in Joadja town which sits about 140km southwest of Sydney in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia. The Joadja distillery may be a relatively new Australian whisky distillery but it already has a fascinating story. The tale includes an Australian ghost town and a couple of Scotch style single malt sherry bombs which, like the owners of the distillery, trace their roots back to Spain.
The Launceston Distillery is based at Launceston Airport’s Hangar 17, which is just a short drive south of Tasmania’s north coast and some world-class vineyards that sit along the Tamar Valley. Launceston – which is Tasmania’s second largest city behind Hobart – has for a long time been a foodie hub, with nearby wineries and farms producing some of Australia’s finest pinot noir and cheese. Now, the Launceston Distillery seems keen to add whisky to that list. Continue reading “Launceston Distillery’s Apera and Tawny matured Tasmanian Single Malt Whisky”→