This month’s whiskies include a new limited edition series from Israel’s first whisky distillery, the first release from a new distillery on the isle of Skye in Scotland, and the big debut whiskey from Midleton’s new master distiller.
Here’s my usual disclaimer. These reviews reflect my personal views on the whisky and that these are not requested nor considered official by Forbes in any way. Often, but not always, I’ll be sent a sample or have a chance to try it at a tasting, but opinions are always my own.
A quick note about my (loosely applied) criteria. In choosing whiskies to review, I don’t have much of a requirement beyond the fact that the whisky ideally should have been released within the last few months, and that the bottles are available to buy for the general public, preferably to a global market. Also keep in mind the prices I include here may also not be the same in other places you might find the bottle.
I’ll also include some links at the bottom of this article to my past monthly review roundups as well.
Here’s a guide to my scoring system. I grade whiskies out of 10 to the nearest half-point:
0-4 – Avoid this bottle
5/5.5 – Barely passable
6/6.5 – Decent enough, not really for me, but you might like it.
7/7.5 – Good
8/8.5 – Extremely good
9-10 – Absolutely superb
The whiskies are listed in alphabetical order:
This is the new series of limited edition whiskies from Israel’s first whisky distillery.
Description: One of four new limited edition releases from Israel’s first whisky distillery, this one is a combination of bourbon and STR wine casks that then undergo final maturation in ex-Cognac casks made of Limousin oak.
Nose: Woody with a touch of sawdust, but becomes more waxy with time and allows roses, persimmons, toffee, and apricots. There’s a hint of hearty beef stew in there too.
Taste: The oak takes centre stage still, but leaves space for spices including cinnamon and turmeric, rich intense fruits like cherries and ripe grapes, and the beef stew has morphed into a curry.
Overall: If you told me this was a cognac, I’d probably believe you. It’s very woody and rich. 8
Description: The whisky from ex-bourbon casks is moved into casks that used to hold fortified pomegranate wine for six months, it’s the only whisky I’ve heard of that has used pomegranate wine in maturation.
Nose: Lots of different things happening at once. This is perfumed like turkish delight, rich like cocoa and caramel, but there’s also hints of leather and liquorice. A vegetal sweetness like roasted peppers also sneaks through.
Taste: The fruit hits first, including baked apples, raisins, and pomegranate. Fried beetroot provides a different kind of sweetness. Coriander and spring onions are the vegetal support act, but the leather persists as well.
Overall: Bold, complex, and really fun to drink. 8.5
Description: How cool is it that we can now try Israeli whisky that’s matured entirely in Cuban and Jamaican rum casks?
Nose: Incredibly creamy, which is to be expected. Cream, vanilla, and pancakes. It’s very doughy and waxy. There’s a slight rancid element, a bit like butter that’s been burning for too long. It’s not a bad thing at all here.
Taste: The cream/vanilla fiesta continues, joined by pineapple tanginess, cucumbers, and mint.
Overall: This is like eating breakfast by a pool on a hot day. 8
Description: The final APEX whisky is matured entirely in casks that used to hold Israeli Chardonnay wine.
Nose: The initial hay and mustiness opens up to a combination of lemon peel, thyme, and a hint of barnyard funk.
Taste: An unexpected explosion of candy. Extremely zingy. Lemon drops, nerds candy, and there’s a very pleasant sourness. There’s some ginger too, and the barnyard funk from the nose just about manages to hang on.
Overall: This is like sucking on lemon candy while walking towards a stable. 8
The first Very Rare release from new master distiller Kevin O’ Gorman
Description: The 38th edition of Midleton’s Very Rare series is the debut of the distillery’s new master distiller Kevin O’Gorman (’It was one of the first things I got to work on when I started the new job’ he told me). He’s mixed together a combination of grain and pot still whiskeys ranging in ages from 15 to 36 years.
Nose: Very buttery, but also floral (O’Gorman says roses but for me it’s more lavender). Freshly baked vanilla cookies sit alongside raspberries. There’s also a hint of something darker and heavier which adds a nice balance.
Taste: A very thick texture for for 40% ABV. Its creamy texture accompanies baked pears, bananas, coconut, and nutella, with a slightly fruity bitterness at the back, a combination of papaya and rich dark chocolate.
Overall: Despite the light profile, it’s a delicious whiskey, carefully balanced and packed with lovely layers. 8.5
The first whisky produced by Skye’s second distillery.
Description: The debut from Skye’s newest distillery, this peated whisky is matured entirely in ex-bourbon casks. It’s also going to be very hard to find a bottle by this point, unfortunately.
Nose: The youth comes through. Plenty of malt here, but there’s also a superb mix of brine, fennel, celery, smoked fish, and croissants.
Taste: Graham crackers, corn on the cob, and creme brulee sits on tar-like peat. It’s nicely seasoned with celery salt.
Overall: Right up there with some of the best young whisky I’ve ever tried. Big things are in store from Torabhaig! 8.5
I’m a London-based whisky writer and co-founder of The Rhythm and Booze Project, a duo fusing live music and whisky through gigs, tasting events, and multimedia. I am