Something a bit different to end the week as we visit Israel’s first distillery.
Milk & Honey 3yo Watt Whisky
This 3yo whiskey was distilled in 2018 and bottled in 2022 after spending its short maturation in a STR hogshead. 319 bottles were released.
White pepper spice straight off the bat, the alcohol presenting itself in a relatively aggressive manner. After giving it a few more minutes in the glass, we’re able to get further into the whisky, finding brown butter, cinnamon, cloves, rum soaked cake, a hint of red fruit and freshly sawn wood. There’s a touch of sweetness coming through in the form of light caramel but the dominating aromas are much heavier in nature. It does have a fair bit of spice too, dried chill and coriander seed mostly.
The palate starts off with some strawberry and apple, quickly morphing into a bit of a spice monster, peppercorns, ground ginger and more chill heat. We’re getting cinnamon sticks, 85%+ cocoa chocolate, toffee and dry oak. In fact, the palate is quite dry overall, we’re chewing on the dram as it follows into a short to medium length finish. We’re a little disappointed in the mouthfeel, it starts off well but quickly becomes thin and overall a bit lacking for us.
Nose (with water)
Some of that initial spice has mellowed and we’re finding more of an oily, petrol-like note. We’re also starting to find some more fruits, peaches, sour grapes with a herbal note in the background. The baking spices are still around and the dram now feels more in harmony with the addition of water.
Palate (with water)
More upfront sweetness now, demerera sugar, Terrys chocolate orange (the dark chocolate version) and a darker caramel than before. There’s some citrus coming through too, along with wet oak and some cola cubes going into a similar length finish as pre-dilution.
This is a little rough upfront, but mellows nicely with water and the overall balance is greatly improved. Our biggest gripe is the mouthfeel, it has a nice oily texture initially but then basically disappears. Similar thoughts on the finish, it’s just a little shorter than we’d like it to be. Not our favourite M&H single cask but still has some nice flavours and aromas.
Milk & Honey 4yo Alpha Bet Whisky
This release was matured in an ex-Islay cask for 3 years before being re-racked into a 2nd fill bourbon cask for a year of additional maturation. Alpha Bet Whisky is an Israeli based independent bottler.
A lot of sweet bourbon vanilla upfront, it’s got that icing sugar type sweetness along with some freshly grated lemon zest and an ice-cream wafer toastiness. We’re really getting that ice cream cone on a beach type of aromas from this. There’s some spice here, white pepper tingling from the alcohol and some nutmeg too. Now, at 66.6% ABV, we were expecting a struggle to get anything other than alcohol from the nose, but it’s hidden well behind the cask influence. Don’t get us wrong, you can smell the alcohol, but it’s not the only thing you’re getting.
It’s quite zesty at first, a mixture of lemon and orange, going into a richer dark chocolate palate with a backbone of salty peat smoke. We’re getting lots of almond marzipan and vanilla essence, the mint and lime flavours of a mojito going into quite a long, marzipan led finish. The mouthfeel is great too, it’s got a good texture and coats all parts of the mouth nicely. As you keep drinking, the peat seems to disappear somewhat and it starts to remind us a little of a decently aged bourbon.
Nose (with water)
Vanilla sponge cake with a little salted caramel drizzled over it. We’re also finding the lime and mint from the palate before has started to appear on the nose, it’s weirdly refreshing. The alcohol still provides a little peppery spice, but again it’s not too much and you can still easily find the other aromas behind it.
Palate (with water)
We’re not finding too much change compared to the undiluted palate, but it feels more harmonious. Before you’d get each flavour individually, one at a time, but now they’re melding together. We are finding a bit more salinity and peat smoke now, it’s become a little less sweet and a little more savoury.
We didn’t find much of the ex-islay cask character on the nose, but we definitely found it on the palate. If we had to guess, we’d say this was in a Laphroaig cask for those 3 years. We’re very impressed with flavours at this age, you could easily mistake it for something 6-8 years older. Obviously the hot, humid climate contributes to that but it’s pretty well balanced in our opinion. We were also surprised at how restrained the alcohol felt for the 66.6% it comes in at. It’s really quite an impressive whisky and we’d happily grab a bottle if we could find one.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
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