Whisky Review: M&H Whisky Distillery Apex Cognac Cask

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by M&H Whisky Distillery. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

M&H Whisky Distillery in Tel Aviv recently launched a new product line to explore different cask finishings. The Apex series includes a pomegranate wine cask finish, a white wine cask finish, and a cognac cask finish, with more to come. The Apex Cognac Cask from M&H is first aged in ex-bourbon barrels and STR (shave, toast, re-char) casks. The whisky is then transferred to French Limousin oak Cognac casks for finishing. Limousin is a forest in France, and the French oak harvested from here has a loose grain pattern that allows the wine or spirit to gain more flavor from the wood.

Because M&H Whisky Distillery follows kosher principles, the ex-bourbon barrels have to come from kosher distilleries. There are a few kosher-certified bourbon distilleries, however, any straight unfinished whiskey is permissible as kosher. STR stands for shaving, toasting, and recharring, and in this case, M&H uses this method on red wine casks. The method was pioneered by Dr. Jim Swan, who also consulted with M&H Distillery when it was first founded in 2012

Cognac finished whisky is nothing new, but the Apex Cognac cask could change the game as a kosher single malt from Israel’s first distillery. Cognac tends to impart lots of fruit and richness on whisky. On the other hand, Limousin oak tends to be tannic, and combined with the hot Israeli climate, the Apex Cognac Cask finish could swing the whisky the other way. The only way to find out is to taste it, so here we go.

M&H Apex Cognac Cask (image via M&H Distillery)

M&H Apex Cognac Cask (image via M&H Distillery)

Tasting Notes: M&H Whisky Distillery Apex Cognac Cask

Vital Stats: 58.5% ABV, 117 proof. A non-chill filtered single malt made in Tel Aviv, Israel. Matured in ex-bourbon and STR casks and finished in French Limousin oak cognac casks. Both the whisky and the Cognac meet kosher standards. 750ml $100.

Appearance: Tawny copper.

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Nose: The dram starts with warm and gooey buttered green apples with cinnamon. It is reminiscent of a fino or Oloroso sherry. The nose is also nutty with honey, and the Cognac has definitely left an imprint on the whisky. A little burnt orange peel comes through near the end. 

Palate: I can taste the Cognac, which gives off a sweet and nutty profile. Honeycomb and almond, or candied hazelnut, makes the whisky reminiscent of Disaronno. In the middle, there is a bit of black pepper. The finish is soapy with jasmine and a skosh of baby powder. Fresh garden mint pops out on the aftertaste. 

The Takeaway

Summary

While the Apex Cognac Cask from M&H Distillery is rich and fruity, the way it drinks overall is harsh. It does seem to be tannic, but it tastes like a mouth full of soap. This is a shame since I really liked the nuttiness of the whisky.

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