For Milk & Honey distillery ex-Islay casks are one of the cornerstones for their whiskies. Some of the preliminary releases as well as the Elements Peated core range expression use this type of cask.
Today we’re trying a single cask release for Holydram Israel. We hear the cask is coming from Ardbeg, although they don’t officially make this claim.
Milk & Honey 3 yo 2017 (61,6%, OB for Holydram Israel, ex-Islay cask #2017-0303, 223 btl.)
Nose: a vegetal / mineral start rather than peaty I’d say, on mulchy leaves and damp cardboard, then moving to camphor, gentian and other herbs. Hints of waxed paper and dough. Sweet pears, smoked grains and herbal honey in the background. Some ginger and pencil shavings as well.
Mouth: a bit aggressive, not just because of the alcohol heat but also because there’s a big load of peppery oak, salinity and earthy notes. Again a slightly vegetal side that I’m not really fond of. Bitter herbs, wood char, iodine and mineral dryness. Sea spray and lemons. Later also hints of sweetness in the background, but the Islay cask certainly had its say.
Finish: long, quite dry and still slightly bitter, with hints of seaweed, black peppercorns, straw and ashes.
Rather good whisky, even though the youth is obvious. I’m sure this will improve with a few extra years, but for the moment there’s little more than spice and earthy peat. Maybe not exactly a necessary profile, coming from Israel. Thanks, Gal!