This New Line of Single Malt Whisky Comes From Where You'd Least Expect It
Gone are the days when single malt whiskies could only be synonymous with Scotland or Japan. As of late last year, a new high-quality whisky producer has stepped up to the plate with its line of unique single malt whiskies, gins and herbal liquors, made from a variety of aging vessels and production techniques—and the location might come as a surprise.
Milk & Honey, Israel's first commercial distillery, was founded in 2012 by Gal and Lital Kalkshtein, former tech entrepreneurs who dreamed of elevating Israel's whisky scene. The pair enlisted the help of legendary master distiller Dr. James Swan to select raw materials and create their house recipes. And when it came to settling on a location, Tel Aviv was an easy decision, as it would allow them to reach both locals and tourists.
Photos: Courtesy of Milk & Honey
Distilling in Tel Aviv isn't the same as it is in other parts of the world, though. The city's hot, humid climate allows for quicker maturation of the whisky, which is estimated at two to two and a half times faster than the aging process in Scotland, for example. Milk & Honey is experimenting with aging across Israel's five geothermic regions—particularly the Dead Sea, various deserts and mountainous areas—to see how climate and elevation impact the maturation process of the products.
Starting this year, Milk & Honey will release its whiskies and gins on the international market, starting with Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, followed by Germany, France and the United States. The distillery is set to release four products: a Triple Cask Young Single Malt, produced from a blend of ex-bourbon barrel, ex-red wine, and ex-Islay; Levantine Single Malt Gin, a triple-distilled barley-based gin macerated with local botanicals; an oak-aged version of the Levantine Gin; and 'Roots' Herbal Liquor, produced in honor of Israel's 70th anniversary, featuring seven hand-selected herbs from local residents, chosen to represent the spirit of Israel.
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