A Taste of Scotland in Tel Aviv

BEHIND THE SCENES

By Ariel Rudolph |
AGED IN CASKS to bring out flavor

The Milk and Honey Distillery in Tel Aviv is the first in Israel to produce quality single malt whisky. When it opened a visitor’s center, I decided to taste and see firsthand—and was pleasantly surprised.

The evening was hosted by general manager Eitan Atir; and Tomer Goren, the head distiller, guided the tour. Tomer learned the trade at a respected distillery in Scotland.

DISTILLATION is a fine art

M&H was established about three years ago and it took a while until solutions were found to the many issues involved in producing whisky in Israel. These include acquiring all the equipment; dealing with the hard water here, and problems with brewing in a hot and humid climate.

With the help of Dr. Jim Swan, a top master distiller specializing in whisky maturation in warm climates, the problems were resolved. And M&H produced their first batch of single malt whisky in March 2015.

Scottish standards are being applied to production which means that the first batch, an Indiegogo edition, will be matured for 3 years and released in 2018. But some items are already available for sale, including a young single malt aged for eight months in red wine casks and a six-month-old whisky aged in American oak casks.

The young whisky was excellent and promises great things to come in a few years.

“This stuff tastes like liquid manna,” said one of the locals on the tour, Idan from Tel Aviv.

When Eitan was asked why they are producing Israeli whisky when there is no shortage of Scotch on the market, he answered, “In a region where water is in short supply, why not produce some ‘water of life’?”

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