Golan Heights Distillery 2015 Single Malt

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I’ve had this bottle for a while now, but on account of Winter I’ve been at the smokey things in my cabinet a little more, and trying to put a dent in my very long backlog of samples, but I finally got round to it this weekend. This is the 2nd single malt release from the Golan Heights distillery here in Israel. I reviewed the first release a few months back after a long wait (it was a reward from their original crowdfunding campaign) but shortly after this one showed up and from what I understand David Zibell (the owner/distiller)’s  plan is to bring these out fairly regularly.

This one differs from the first in that it was matured in an ex-Golani Black cask. Golani being the young wheat & barley blend that the distillery puts out, the black version matured in charred new oak. The first release was matured in a first fill red wine cask so this should be quite different, and should also show off the spirit a little more. Again some of the bottles from the cask were released at cask strength and some at 46% ABV.

Aged 3 years. 62.1% ABV. Matured in an ex-Golani Black cask. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from cask #10.

Nose: Apricot jam. Fennel. Candied orange. Woodspice. Vanilla. Water brings out toffee and some herbal honey.

Palate: Liquorice. Green grass. Herbal honey. Honeycomb candy. Citrus peel. Cinnamon. Toffee. Maltesers.

Finish: Green herbs. Malted milk. Citrus juice. Big hit of dry wood, liqourice and wood spice on the end.

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: 2/5

This is what I was expecting, more reserved and spirit centric than the first release. It’s a nice contrast because this will appeal to those who aren’t such fans of wine cask maturation. It also gives us a chance to get to know the single malt a little more, from a different angle.

Personally, I did prefer the first release a little more, but I’m a fan of both wine cask influence and bold flavours. One thing that stuck out for me a little in a good way was something on the palate that reminded me of Maltesers, which I’ve picked up on a lot of the stuff I’ve tried from Golan Heights Distillery. And I love Maltesers.

This is a lovely whisky and a really fine example of what is starting to show up here from the local distillers. Very exciting times.

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