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Milk & Honey

Milk & Honey is Israel’s first whisky distillery. It was established in 2012 in the south of Tel Aviv following investment from Gal Kalkshtein, the owner of the distillery, along with Amit Dror, Simon Fried and Roee and Naama Licht. In 2017, the brand made history by releasing Israel's first ever single malt whisky, a limited edition, three-year-old malt that was distilled at a temporary location and sold at auction. Distillation at the current site only started in 2015, however, so we’ll have to wait until 2019 for the first commercially-available, fully-matured whisky from Milk & Honey. There isn’t actually any legal definitions in Israel for what whisky can or cannot be yet, so distilleries seem to be using Scotch standards as a protocol. The Milk & Honey distillery features a custom-built pot still and a vintage still that was made to emulate its Scottish counterparts. The barrel selection, which includes ex-bourbon casks, virgin oak barrels and ex-wine barrels, are all kosher. Israel’s climate means that Milk & Honey whisky will reach maturation around 2-2.5 times quicker compared to Scotch, so an Israeli 3 years-old single malt whisky could be equated to a 6-8 years old Scotch single malt. For those who want to see the effects of this close-up, Milk & Honey offer the opportunity to purchase a 200 litre, first-fill ex-bourbon cask filled with new-make single malt. There’s also a visitor centre on-site. We visited the distillery in 2019, a trip you can read all about here. The sadly now late Dr. Jim Swan had worked with Milk & Honey as its master distiller and consultant before he passed in 2017. Tomer Goren is now the current head distiller.

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