Golan Heights Distillery – 2 whisky liqueurs and a young whisky

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Once again I’m doing something local to coincide with our Independence day. This time I’m reviewing three offerings from the Golan Heights distillery, a craft distillery in our stunning North.

I’ve been playing close attention to this distillery since its original crowdfunding campaign and am eagerly anticipating the release of their first single malt, of which I have a bottle reserved. In the meanwhile they have been quite busy releasing a number if top class spirits, gin, arak, absinthe and some others.

They’ve also released a young whisky called Golani, made from a sour mash of wheat and barley and aged for about a year. I reviewed the original version here, that one is matured in wine casks. What I have here is Golani Black. Originally released as a single cask bottling for 2016’s Whisky Live Tel Aviv, it’s aged in new charred American oak only.

I also have with me two other bottlings, Golani Honey and Golani Maple. These are whisky liqueurs based on their Golani whisky. The honey liqueur was released in mid 2016 as a bit of a trial run project. A little while later they released Golani Maple, same idea, but using Grade B maple syrup in place of honey.


Golani Black

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Aged 1 year. 46% ABV. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled from cask no. 4.

Nose: Young, malty, slightly sour. Anise. Wintergreen. Fennel. Honey. Slight note of vanilla cream.

Palate: Slightly salty arrival, followed by a huge, sharp green herbal note. Icing sugar. Slightly peppery.

Finish: Long. Pepper. Woodspice. Anise. Fennel.

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 3/5


Golani Honey

Aged 1 year. 35% ABV. Blend of Golani whisky and raw wild thistle honey. 

Nose: Malty funk from very young whisky. Honey. Light wood. Slightly sour odour.

Palate: Malt, honey, kind like the filling in maltesers. Dry cardboard. Some bitter woodiness.

Finish: Quite long, more maltesers. Some herbal notes, hints of anise and wintergreen. Obviously honey all the way through, but it feels less sweet on the finish.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 3/5


Golani Maple

Aged 1 year. 35% ABV. Blend of Golani whisky and grade B maple syrup. 

Nose: Slightly alcoholic. Nutmeg. Maple syrup. Dark chocolate. Honeycomb candy.

Palate: Maple, quite light. Rich malt. Woodspice. Menthol on the swallow.

Finish: Long. Lots of maple, the dark kind. Rich wood. Wood spice. Slight green herbal funk.

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 3/5


The Golani Black was a bottle I’d picked up at Whisky Live last year after tasting it. It was quite different to the original Golani whisky I’d had before that. There was still a very young funk to it, but now the grapey notes had been replaced by spices, green herbs and liquorice. This could be quite polarising, but I quite enjoy it. This is still a very young blend though.

As for the liqueurs, I remember distinctly not liking the combination of honey and malty funk in the honey liqueur when I first opened the bottle, but now that it’s been open a while there’s this lovely note that reminds me distinctly of Maltesers which I adore, so I’m definitely going to be sipping on that a little more. The maple liqueur still outruns it by a country mile though. The blancing there of the young whisky with the sweetness and woody flavour of the maple is close to perfect, they just work together.

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