Showing posts with label Israel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Israel. Show all posts

Monday, February 15, 2021

M&H Elements Red Wine Cask Single Malt Whisky Review & Tasting Notes


Two months ago, if you had asked me, "What do you think about M&H Distillery?" I would have had no clue what you were talking about. I'd never heard of them. Whisky? From Israel? I didn't know that was even a thing. And, yet here I am, two months later, and I'm penning my third review of one of its whiskies.  This time it is the third entry in the M&H Elements series:  Red Wine Cask

For some background on both M&H and its Elements program, I'll direct you to my first review, Elements Peated.  All of the M&H expressions begin with the same base Single Malt Whisky. What happens beyond that is where the real magic happens. 

"Ex-red wine casks that were sourced from Israel's finest wineries were picked for this part of the Elements trilogy. The Mediterranean's climate, variety of soil types, hot sunny days and cool nights bring a spicy and unique flavor to Israeli wine - and in turn, our casks." - M&H Distillery

The wood used starts with 60% ex-Bourbon barrels, then 26% red wine casks, 10% STR (shaved, toasted, and re-charred), and 4% virgin oak. While it carries no age statement, the Elements series is aged a minimum of three years. You should expect to pay about $56.99 for a 750ml and is bottled at 46% ABV.

I'd like to thank M&H Distillery for providing me a sample of Elements Red Wine Cask in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. I'll #DrinkCurious and get to it.

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, this single malt presented as dull gold in color. While it left a medium rim, the legs were fat and heavy while racing back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

Nose:  Toasted coconut is not all that unusual of an aroma. But, it is rare to be a dominant smell. That was joined with cranberry, cherry, ripe plum, chocolate, and oak. When I drew the vapor into my mouth, vanilla and nutmeg danced across my tongue.

Palate:  I found the mouthfeel to be light yet coating. Flavors of red grape, vanilla cream, and toasted oak launched the experience. As it moved mid-palate, nutmeg and black cherry took over, which transitioned to black pepper, dry oak, and dark chocolate on the back.

Finish:  Black pepper and dry oak carried into the finish. Cherry, plum, and vanilla cream assisted. While only 46%, I found it interesting how tingly my hard palate became.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Single malts finished in wine casks is a thing now. Admittedly, I'm fairly new to it. For the most part, I've enjoyed what I've tried. Elements Red Wine Cask is no exception and is in the upper-echelon of what I've sampled from that niche. I was a bit shocked how any sweetness was subdued compared to the spices on the back and finish. When I consider the price, this one's a no-brainer Bottle rating. 

One final word - now that I've had all three of the Elements expressions, my favorite was Elements Peated. But, that shouldn't diminish the greatness of Red Wine Cask or Sherry Cask. You can't lose with any of the bunch. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

Friday, February 5, 2021

M&H Elements Sherry Cask Israeli Single Malt Review & Tasting Notes


Recently, I reviewed M&H Elements Peated Single Malt, and rated it as an easy Bottle purchase. Without rehashing too many details about M&H Distillery and its Elements program, it is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and ages its whiskies in rack houses at the Dead Sea.  Because of the climate, whisky matures faster than it would in, say, Scotland or Ireland. M&H does use a traditional Scottish method of making whisky.

Today I'm drinking Elements Sherry Cask, which starts with the same 100% malted barley, is non-chill-filtered, and naturally colored. The newmake contains a small amount of peated barley.

"To create this whisky, we traveled all the way to Jerez, Spain, to oversee Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry made especially for us. The casks, once filled with quality sherry and seasoned for one year in Jerez, were brought to the distillery to mature our New-Make spirit for a wonderful, complex whisky." - M&H Elements

The cooperage is made from 40% of the sherry casks described above, with 55% coming from first-fill Bourbon barrels, and the remaining 5% coming from STR (Shaving, Toasting, and Re-charring of wine casks). The casks are all certified Kosher, adding another touch of uniqueness. In fact, M&H is the first distillery to use Kosher-certified Sherry casks.

The whiskey is then proofed to 46% ABV (or 92°), and you can expect to pay about $70.00 for a 750ml bottle. It carries no age statement, but M&H usually allows at least three years for optimal maturing.

Before I get to my tasting notes and, ultimately my rating, I'd like to thank M&H for sending me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let's #DrinkCurious.

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, Elements Sherry Cask presented as the color of raw honey. It left a heavy, thick rim that generated slow, fat legs that dropped to the pool of liquid sunshine.

Nose:  Aromas of malt, pear, nutmeg, vanilla, and oak were prevalent. I also found plum, citrus, and a smattering of peat.  When I brought the vapor into my mouth, I experienced apricot and raisin.

Palate:  The mouthfeel had a medium body and oily texture. On the front, I tasted brown sugar, salted caramel, and vanilla. As it moved to the middle, it consisted of a blast of dark chocolate, nutmeg, and pecan praline. Then, on the back, flavors of raw honey, apricot, raisin, oak, and almond rounded things out. 

Finish:  A long-lasting finish started with dark chocolate, baking spices, apricot, berry, honey, and light peat. 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  As a rule, I enjoy single malts aged in sherry casks. I love the fruity flavors. Elements Sherry Cask didn't disappoint, and I found it delicious. For $70.00, I believe this is a heck of a great single malt, and I'm pleased to convey my Bottle rating for it.  Cheers!

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

Friday, January 22, 2021

M&H Elements Peated Israeli Single Malt Review & Tasting Notes


To prove the point that whiskey can be made pretty much anywhere, today's review highlights a peated single malt from M&H Whisky Distillery out of (wait for it) Israel!  That's right - based in Tel Aviv, M&H ages its whiskey at the Dead Sea, which is 1412ft (430.5 meters) below sea level. Aging whiskey in this climate, which sees about 300 days of sunshine a year, means things mature faster while they lose about 25% to the angels.

Established in 2012 as Israel's first distillery, M&H was originally called Milk & Honey Distillery, and they've recently moved to change the name to M&H in an attempt to alleviate confusion and assumptions that either milk or honey are used as ingredients. The Head Distiller is Tomer L. Goren. Using a 9000-liter (about 2377 gallons) Romanian pot still, a 3500-liter (about 924 gallons) German pot still, and lacking any legal requirements to define Israeli whisky, they've chosen to follow a traditional Scottish process for making whiskey. Everything has aged a minimum of three years.

The Peated Single Malt is part of the Elements series. 

"The M&H Elements Series is a composition of flavors and aromas assembled from meticulously selected casks that bring forward characters enhanced by the casks' wood, origin, and history. Each expression in this series begins with the M&H CLASSIC Single Malt Whisky and complimented with whisky matured in a variety of hand-picked, superlative and quality oak casks, culminating in a beautiful natural color, impressive flavors, and a well-balanced single malt." - M&H Whisky Distillery 

The mash is obviously 100% malted barley. It is non-chill filtered and naturally-colored. As far as cooperage goes, M&H chose ex-Bourbon, ex-Islay, STR (Shaving, Toasting, and Re-charring of wine casks), and virgin oak, and the blend is 41%, 40%, 15%, and 4% respectively. Once matured, it is diluted to 46% ABV (92°), and a 750ml will set you back about $65.00.

Before I start to #DrinkCurious, I'd like to thank M&H for sending me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. 

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, Elements Peated presented as honey in color. It created a thinner rim and very sticky, slow legs that crawled back to the pool.

Nose: The peat was evident but not overwhelming. Beneath it, I smelled sweet tobacco, crème brûlée, caramel, crushed grapes, and the slightest suggestion of citrus. When I inhaled the vapor through my mouth, I discovered a definitive briny quality, which I'm assuming comes from the Dead Sea.

Palate:  I found the mouthfeel to be warm and creamy. The first things I tasted were peat and brine, along with oak.  At mid-palate, it was fruity with apple, pear, and lemon. Then, on the back, the flavors of salted caramel and ginger rounded things out.  

Finish:  The long-lasting finish consisted of apple, ginger, brine, and smoked oak. When I thought it was finished, citrus made an encore and then faded.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  The Elements Peated did an admirable job of reminding me of an Islay Scotch while still offering something a bit different. While not as heavily peated, if you told me that Ardbeg was the distiller, I'd accept it as gospel and wouldn't balk at the price at all. The fact that it isn't Ardbeg makes it even more intriguing and as far as a rating goes, I'm sold!  M&H Elements Peated takes a no-brainer Bottle rating.  Cheers!

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It