Milk and Honey: nectar from heaven

March 26, 2018

I admit it - I was starting to get palate fatigue. Not surprising really - I've written seven books in 15 months -  I've written about Scottish malt whisky, gin, rum, craft beer, American craft whisky, world whisky, and craft spirits. That's more than 1000 drinks and 170,000 words. Not only that, but a lot of samples sent to me were dreadful.

So I had  become jaded, fed up, cynical, bored. Oh and due to the outrageous treatment and insensitive behaviour of certain individuals and companies, thoroughly disillusioned.  Still am actually, given that the cause of it hasn't gone away.

And then two samples arrived from the Milk and Honey Distillery in Tel Aviv. They are both excellent, but the young single malt is quite possibly the best young whisky spirit I have ever tasted.

I've been to Whisky Live Israel twice, and visited Milk & Honey just as it was starting to produce spirit. It's situated in an industrial part of the city, near to a big football stadium, an area with lots of businesses operating out of industrial units, and plentiful car parking space. Rural idyll it is not.

But you're immediately struck by how serious the team behind it are, both in terms of dedication and financial support. You know head distiller Tomer Goren is the real deal when you find he has independently bottled a 37 Year Old Port Ellen. That's serious.

It's a sizeable distillery built from scratch and with a visitor centre.  And that attention to detail and clear passion, is reflected in the young malt I have been sent. I'm not surprised that the late Dr Jim Swan had a hand on the distillery's development. What a legacy to leave.

My sample of Milk & Honey Young Single Malt was bottled on February 6 - New Zealand Waitangi Day - of this year, and it includes malt triple matured in ex red wine casks, ex bourbon casks, and ex Islay casks. Not the Port Ellen by any chance?

The resulting spirit, bottled at 46%,  is stunning. Soft, rounded and rich in flavour, it has a delightful but subtle smokiness, masses of black cherry and red berry fruits and enough of the vanilla and candyfloss to make for delightful mix of sweet and savoury, all perfectly balanced. Three words to describe it: silk and honey. If it were a colour it would be a rich blood red, or a bright rainbow. Amazing, and given how the label is worded, not even three years old yet.

The second sample, aged for  about three and a half years and bottled at 46%, is also very good. It's lightly peated, and although I'm not  normally a fan of 'Bon Jovi' whiskies - I'm more of a metal man when it comes to peat levels - this works very well,  the peat complimenting some tasty lemon and orange notes.

This is impressive stuff from Milk & Honey, and if  Tomer and friends carry on at this rate, their set to join world's very best whisky makers.  


The palate fatigue has been well and truly vanquished.





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Dominic Roskrow


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