02.02.18 | The land of Milk and Honey and… Whisky? | Golan Heights Israeli Single Malt Whisky Cask #10

World of Whiskies

Israel, the land of Milk and Honey and…. Whisky?

You read that correctly, don’t look now but Israel has joined the growing world of single malt whiskeys outside of Scotland with now three distilleries operating out of the country: Milk and Honey, Golan Heights, and Pelter. Today I am sharing with you Golan Heights’ second single malt release – Cask #10. Golan Heights was founded in 2014 by David Zibell, a Canadian expat that saw the resource potential in the Golan Heights region to chase his dream of distilling.

This second release was aged in charred American oak that previously held David’s Golani Black (two-grain whisky), so basically a first fill ex-bourbon cask. Before getting into the tasting notes I want to point out the label. The depth of info is incredible. Distilled in 01/2015 using Concerto barley that had a 60-hour fermentation then double distilled using copper pot stills and worm tub condensers, the Casks experienced 19% Angel’s share bottled at cask strength of 62.1% on 01/2018. I love this… David is not hiding one bit about the whisky inside the bottle and I think that is something that should definitely be applauded.

The whisky is a lovely caramel color that shows just how the sweltering days and cool nights increases the interaction with the barrel. The nose is a wood shop of freshly cut lumber, caramel nut brittle, and slight perfumey funk. The first taste hit me with a wave of dry heat of cinnamon and red pepper flakes. After that subsided I found sweet marzipan, oak, and pistachios. Very oily and earthy – lots of spice. The finish was hard caramel candies and wood shavings, lingering sugar cane and sandalwood perfume takes it home!

This was such a lively whisky in the glass that just exudes fun and excitement! It tastes very much of the land with lots of natural earthen flavors. Water brought more fruit – apples and pears – which I found very lovely to tame the assertive wood notes. I feel that cask types that can introduce red fruit notes will take this thing to the freaking moon. This is only David’s second release and he is putting the world on notice for the future of Israeli Single Malts.

L’chaim!

01.10.18 | From Taiwan with Love | Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask

World of Whiskies

I am part of a terrific Asian Whisky group that is full of some incredibly knowledgeable people. The same group that really got me up to speed and interested in Amrut, this group also are Kavalan fanatics. Not having it really available in Colorado I just couldn’t understand the excitement. Kavalan is amongst the relatively young distilleries that are making big noise in the whisky world by snatching up renowned awards consistently for their single cask line. Starting in 2006 out of Taiwan, the Solist group consists of bourbon, wine, and sherry cask expressions that are becoming increasingly difficult to find due to their popularity! Kavalan had me at Sherry and Cask Strength, so here are my thoughts.

The color of the Kavalan is insane – an incredibly deep amber, but on the surface a beautiful halo of light forms contrasting against the deep Sherry red. If the sight of the whisky doesn’t convince you of the sherry bomb sitting in your hand then the scent certainly should. On first nose I found a decadent dessert wine full of rich spices of clove and cinnamon, the scent of a cigar being hand rolled rises with shavings of dark chocolate, and taking over on the end is sweet cherries, tons of cherry. On the taste is a slight spice that is going to carry you through the entire taste, the spice is of cinnamon sugar. The sherry bomb is in full effect here. An explosion of chocolate covered cherries, cranberry sauce topped with mascarpone, the spice of Mexican hot chocolate awakens the taste buds, a syrup of sugar cane coats the inners of the mouth and allows the flavors to spread over the entire surface. One the finish is a burst of minty oak that shocks the mouth and then smoothens out into a sweet cherry cola that fizzles away.

I get it now, I want to be a freaking Kavalan fanatic too! The Solist Sherry Cask was without a doubt one of the best whiskies I’ve ever had. For my personal profile it has everything I want, cask strength, sherry, and a complex layering of spices and flavors. A masterfully crafted whisky by a top notch distillery – now to hunt down the other Solist expressions!

Prost! 🥃