SMWS 155.1 (Milk & Honey)


We were lucky enough to get a bottle of 155.1. So today we thought we’d share some thoughts on the bottle as well as taking a look at the distillery behind the bottling Milk & Honey.

If you’re unaware Milk & Honey is an Israeli distillery that was founded in 2012 and started producing whisky in 2014. It is located in Tel Aviv, Israel, and was the first whisky distillery in the country. Milk & Honey uses Israeli sourced ingredients to create their whisky, getting all of their barley, water and yeast locally.

As an Israeli based distillery Milk & Honey is able to takes advantage of Israel's climate, which has over 300 days of sun per year. Similar to Australia or Texas, the high temperatures and humidity in the country accelerate the aging process. The distillery is also able to use of Israel’s geographical diversity for maturation, with the distillery maturing whisky across the country from the mountains of the Upper Galilee all the way down to the lowest place on earth – the Dead Sea.

One of the key figures in the development of Milk & Honey's whisky was Dr. Jim Swan. Dr. Swan was a renowned whisky consultant who worked with many distilleries around the world, and he played an important role in helping to establish the Israeli whisky industry. He was involved with Milk & Honey from the beginning, and helped to develop the distillery's approach to whisky-making, including it’s custom-built pot still and vintage still that was made to emulate Scottish distilleries. Sadly Dr Swan passed away in 2017, and Tomer Goren is now the head distiller.

Milk & Honey's whisky range includes both single malt and blended whiskies, which are aged in a variety of casks including ex-bourbon, ex-red wine, and ex-Islay casks. They also produce a range of experimental “Apex” whiskies such as a whisky matured in pomegranate wine casks. In addition to their whisky, the distillery also produces gin, rum, and other spirits.

The distillery has won numerous awards for its whisky, including a gold medal at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition for their Elements Sherry Cask whisky.

SMWS 155.1

Region: Israel

ABV: 65.4%

Price: £75.00

Distilled 24th June 2018, this release was matured in a 1st fill STR Barrique for 4 years before being bottled in an outturn of 264 bottles.

Nose

We’re initially getting notes of candied orange peel, honey, quince and aniseed. A little time in the glass reveals golden syrup, cloves and star anise. It’s got a lovely nose and much like other M&H bottles we wouldn’t be able to identify just how young it was if we didn’t already know.

Palate

The palate starts with just the faintest hint of blueberries, before transitioning into Irn bru bars, toffee cinders, honeycomb and orange marmalade. There’s some ginger and rye spice appearing on the good length finish. It’s got a good mouthfeel that is nice and chewy. It’s a touch alcoholic, but that’s not surprising given the ABV. Some chocolate orange appears along with chocolate and ginger biscuits on the finish after a little time in the glass.

Nose (with water)

Water brings out a punnet of strawberries, and we’re finding the dram more citrus forward now, but it’s a a fresher orange like freshly squeezed juice. There’s also a little bit of furniture polish appearing in the background.

Palate (with water)

With reduction the spice had been diminished, allowing the citrus notes to shine. The mouthfeel remains good, but maybe just not as chewy. We’d drink this with or without water, and would suggest you experiment to get the right mix for your own preferences.

Conclusion

If you’re new to the distillery then this is a great entry point dram to showcase the type of liquid the distillery produces. if you were lucky enough to nab a bottle you should definitely crack it. While if you’re long time fan of the distillery then this bottle won’t disappoint either. At £75 some may say this is too expensive, but it’s on the cheaper end of single cask releases making it an easy 8/10.

Score: 8/10

    • 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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