Review: Milk & Honey Levantine Oak Aged Gin by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46%
Aging
A few months in red wine STR casks
Recipe
Barley Spirit and Botanicals
Distiller Milk & Honey (Tel Aviv, Israel)

This gin is made from the base levantine gin (which notably has some za’atar spice mix characteristics) and is aged in shaved, toasted, and re-charred (STR) wine casks which are quite popular these days with whisky. I quite liked the standard levantine gin, so I’m curious to see how this one will do.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2020

It’s surprising how much a little aging does to the character of this gin – the spices just completely bloom, with black pepper and cinnamon coming out in spades. Cedar and frankincense too.  The oak adds a nice richness and sweetness to the gin, as well as some vanilla and tannins to add a bit more texture – and smooth it all out a bit. The finish is quite nice with the rich spices, preserved lemon, oregano, and vanilla.

A nice variation on the Levantine gin.

Assessment: Highly recommended.


Review: Milk & Honey Levantine Gin by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46%
Aging
None
Recipe
Barley Spirit and Botanicals
Distiller Milk & Honey (Tel Aviv, Israel)

This gin is made from a double distilled base of malted barley. To this, a number of botanicals are macerated, including cinnamon, chamomile, black pepper, lemon peel, lemon verbena, coriander, and origanum syriacum. After maceration, the spirit is distilled a third time.

Origanum syriacum is notable as a primary spice of the spice mix za’atar - it is a very distinct flavour and certainly makes this gin unique.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2020

The nose is very herbal – indeed, it very much resembles za’atar. It really dials up the lemon, it’s like the intensity of pickled lemon peels. But we also have lemon, cumin, juniper, orange, and a grainy, slightly nutty base. It’s quite rich, for a gin. The lemon character is quite intense on the palate too – lots of preserved lemon peels, or, perhaps one might even say lemon cleaners. It has a slight sweetness to it that is nice.

I like it. The herbaceousness is intense, unique, and quite good.

Assessment: Highly recommended.


Review: Milk & Honey Islay Cask Single Malt Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
56.5%
Aging
Ex-Islay cask
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Milk & Honey (Tel Aviv, Israel)

Another young single malt from milk & honey distillery, aged in an Islay cask and bottled at cask strength. There seem to be a fair number of Islay casks lying around these days.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

Yes, an islay cask indeed – big earthy and vegetal notes, light smoke, burning earth, chickpeas, and still with dried herbs like mint. Toffee, too – with pear, apple, vanilla, hay, black pepper. The palate is rich, and full – with a particular emphasis on mixed dried herbs, smoke, black pepper – and the baking spices and smoke just dominate the finish. The tannins on the finish, mixed with the sweetness, smoke, earth, and nuttiness are fantastic.

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).


Review: Milk & Honey Classic Single Malt Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46%
Aging
3 yrs; Ex-bourbon and STR wine casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Milk & Honey (Tel Aviv, Israel)

This is a young single malt, but it’s another warm-climate whisky where the angel’s share is about 10-12% a year and the aging, in some ways, happens faster.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2020

The whisky has really come along here- toffee, oak, vanilla, and lots of baking spices. There is a really nice pear note that is very well integrated, and the floral character that is present from the new make and younger versions really comes out too.

It does well with a bit of water too – overall it’s fairly light as a single malt and it’s clean and very deliberate in how it presents its flavours. I’m pretty impressed! I find something unique in the way that the oak is present in the whisky – similar to rums or whiskies aged in other climates where the oak presence feels thicker and deeper than in other climates (while not necessarily being more tannic). That’s the case here.

I must say, I’m very pleasantly surprised! It’s hard to do better with a single malt at 3 years of age.

Recommended (81% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Lower end of average at $90.


Review: Milk & Honey Young Single Malt by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46%
Aging
STR Wine Cask
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Milk & Honey (Tel Aviv, Israel)

M+H’s new make is very interesting -herbal with hay, a rich barley character, and a unique evolution on the palate – it starts oily, rich, and grainy and then it goes spicy, floral, with orchard fruit which lead into a nice fruity finish. It very much has two phases. What happens when you stick it in a hot warehouse for a couple years in an STR cask? This.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2020

The nose is quite clean, and very advanced for the age- I suppose the hot maturation conditions probably helps with that. Lots of oak, vanilla, banana chips, dried flower notes, lots of oak – toasted and charred notes, pear, almond and nice herbal notes – mint and hay. Even at this age, the oak is approaching total domination – on the side of sweet oaky notes and tannins. However, it’s fine as is. The finish is nice – prunes, dried fruit, toffee, and oak. The tannins are nice and nuttiness tends to grow.

There are very few single malts that taste this good at less than 3 years of age.