Editor’s Note: These whiskies were provided to us as review samples by ImpEx Beverages. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of these reviews. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy links in these reviews our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
When Gal Kalkshtein is asked to describe his whisky as a person, he hesitates. “I want my whisky to be perfect, and I know no perfect men.” He finally settles on Superman.
Kalkshtein is owner of M&H (Milk & Honey, or, in Hebrew: חלב ודבש) Distillery, the first single-malt producer in Israel, based in Tel Aviv. He found a path to making whisky from brewing.
His head distiller, Tomer Goren, is the one responsible for actually making this superhero spirit. Goren came from the hospitality side, owning two bars before his career change. He’s a bit more circumspect (modest?) than Kalkshtein, saying only “I think whisky is the best drink in the world. I didn’t invent anything – my whisky, it’s very drinkable, very tasty, very good quality. That’s all.”
Since opening their doors in 2014, M&H have been joined by four other whiskey distillers in the country: Golan Heights, Pelter, Legends, and Yerushalmi. Together, they are creating the category of Israeli whisky.
Eitan Atir, M&H’s CEO, is pushing for more regulation over whisky makers. He wants to see certain ingredients and a minimum aging length required. “We want top-quality whiskey all around Israel, not just for M&H,” he says. “Israeli whisky needs to be well-known for its quality, it doesn’t matter which brand. But there’s enough room in the market for everyone.”
Much like Texas touts a warmer climate and its accelerating effects, Israeli producers credit their 300-plus days of sun for whiskies that taste older than they are.
This new release includes M&H Classic Single Malt Whisky, matured in both ex-bourbon casks and shaved, toasted, and re-charred (STR ) wine casks, and M&H Elements Sherry, rested in oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks.
All of the distillery’s spirits are kosher. Since sherry is typically not, the team had to travel to Jerez, Spain to have kosher sherry specially made.
Tasting Notes: M&H Classic Single Malt Whisky
Appearance: M&H Classic Single Malt Whisky is a very clear, bright medium gold that quickly forms medium-thick tears.
Nose: The nose is delicate, slightly yeasty, smelling of wet rocks and blown roses. As it rests in the glass, burnt sugar and rosemary come through.
Palate: Hotter on the palate than I would like, especially at this proof, it’s indistinctly nutty with a grain sweetness that lingers.
Final Thoughts: From all that’s happening on the nose, I know this whisky shows promise. Right now it’s rough around the edges. Cheers to them, though, for diving in with their own make.
Tasting Notes: M&H Elements Sherry Single Malt Whisky
Appearance: The liquid is a very clear, bright medium gold that quickly forms medium-thick tears – more marigold than the Classic.
Nose: M&H Elements Sherry Single Malt Whisky is more robust on the nose: banana bread, soft grain and toast, with maple syrup drifting to the fore as it rests.
Palate: This whisky is sweeter on the approach, tasting of baked apple and allspice, backed by malty sweetness.
Final Thoughts: The extra softening from the sherry casks make this a more enjoyable whisky. I look forward to seeing what comes from Milk & Honey as they have spirits around for a few more years.
M&H Classic Single Malt Whisky
Final thoughts: From all that’s happening on the nose, I know this whisky shows promise. Right now it’s rough around the edges. Cheers to them, though, for diving in with their own make.
M&H Elements Sherry Single Malt Whisky
Final thoughts: The extra softening from the sherry casks make this a more enjoyable whisky. I look forward to seeing what comes from Milk & Honey as they have spirits around for a few more years.
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In 2014 I founded Portland Bitters Project with the vision to create the best bitters on the market. Now our bitters are enjoyed around the country and internationally to make expressive, delicious cocktails. I teach at two Portland colleges and visit private groups, distilleries and maker's spaces to spread the...