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Tel Aviv - Israel, The Land Of Milk And Honey _ And Now Whiskey?

Published on: August 11, 2017 10:01 AM
By: AP
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In this Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017 photo, Israeli Eitan Attir is seen in the barrels room at the Milk and Honey whiskey distillery in Tel Aviv,. Israel has been known as the land of milk and honey since biblical times. But what about the land of Single Malt whiskey?. (AP/Sebastian Scheiner)In this Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017 photo, Israeli Eitan Attir is seen in the barrels room at the Milk and Honey whiskey distillery in Tel Aviv,. Israel has been known as the land of milk and honey since biblical times. But what about the land of Single Malt whiskey?. (AP/Sebastian Scheiner)

Tel Aviv - Israel has been known as the land of milk and honey since Biblical times — but the land of single malt whiskey? One appropriately named distillery is trying to turn Israel into a whiskey powerhouse.

Smooth, honey-brown whiskey is not the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of Israel. However, at the Milk and Honey Distillery, rows of casks proudly stamped “Tel Aviv” hold liters of the stuff.

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The country’s first whiskey distillery is preparing to release Israel’s first single malt whiskey.

“It’s a young whiskey,” said Eitan Attir, the distillery’s CEO.

Attir says the brew is aged for three years and two months in virgin oak and old bourbon barrels at the company’s renovated former bakery in a rugged industrial area of south Tel Aviv.

“It’s complex for its age,” he said. “The taste feels like more than three years, more like seven or eight and again the story is much more important in this case. This is the first ever single malt whiskey that any distillery has released from Israel.”

Although wine has been produced in the Holy Land for millennia, and modern Israeli wines have gained international renown in recent years, whiskey production is new to the country.

Milk and Honey was founded in 2013 and began distilling small experimental batches of whiskey a year later. One hundred bottles from their first cask of Single Malt are set to be sold at an online auction starting Aug. 11.

Whiskey is universally acceptable for religious Jews to consume, Attir says, and Milk and Honey’s drink is “ultra-kosher.”

In this Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017 photo, An Israeli worker is seen at the 'Milk and Honey' whiskey distillery in Tel Aviv, Israel. Israel has been known as the land of milk and honey since biblical times. But what about the land of Single Malt whiskey?. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)In this Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017 photo, An Israeli worker is seen at the 'Milk and Honey' whiskey distillery in Tel Aviv, Israel. Israel has been known as the land of milk and honey since biblical times. But what about the land of Single Malt whiskey?. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

“We don’t work on Saturday, we don’t work on Yom Kippur or Passover,” he said. “And we want to symbolize our being Jewish or Israeli and then we called it the Milk and Honey Distillery.”

The single malt was made in Israel from start to finish, according to the company’s website, though the ingredients, barrels and equipment were imported from the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere. The warmer climate in Israel allows for a speedier aging process in the barrel than whiskey made in colder climates, according to Ran Latovicz, an Israeli whiskey connoisseur and bar owner.

“In colder climates like Scotland or Ireland, whiskey usually ages for about seven to 10 to 12 years before it’s even bottled because (it is) just the way, you know, it gets to its full potential,” he said.

The distillery believes it is well positioned to ride a wave of growing international interest in new world whiskeys, like rising stars from Taiwan or India, and hopes this initial offering whets the appetites of aficionados everywhere.

“There’s a huge demand nowadays for whiskey from other places around the world — new world whiskey. There’s more than 70 countries now with a minimum of one distillery and one of them is Israel,” Attir said.

Gal Kalkshtein, Milk and Honey’s founder and owner, said he hopes that once the whiskey starts getting shipped abroad in 2019, it will create a buzz for Israeli whiskies.

“We want to be recognized for our quality, not the gimmick,” he said.

 

 



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Read Comments (9)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Aug 11, 2017 at 10:13 AM PureSatmar Says:

Kudos for the quote "Jewish or Israeli "
Gut Shabbes

2

 Aug 11, 2017 at 10:17 AM Anonymous Says:

I'll drink to that.

3

 Aug 11, 2017 at 11:09 AM blubluh Says:

I sure hope they'll take the issue of chametz sh'ava alav haPesach seriously and do a above-board mechiras chametz before Pesach. It'd be such a shame to have yet another "Jewish" enterprise produce products that observant Jews have to avoid for one reason or another.

4

 Aug 11, 2017 at 11:19 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
PureSatmar Says:

Kudos for the quote "Jewish or Israeli "
Gut Shabbes

Hilarious, I'm positive this gentleman DID NOT mean it the way that YOU interpret it. Shabbat Shalom in any case.

5

 Aug 11, 2017 at 12:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
blubluh Says:

I sure hope they'll take the issue of chametz sh'ava alav haPesach seriously and do a above-board mechiras chametz before Pesach. It'd be such a shame to have yet another "Jewish" enterprise produce products that observant Jews have to avoid for one reason or another.

IME experience recently in Israel it seems most businesses do mechiras chometz, i saw plenty of stores that had a certificate of mechiras chometz displayed without even a kashrus certificate. if these guys have any hechser on the whiskey which I'd guess they do, the rov would require mechiras chometz!

6

 Aug 11, 2017 at 12:57 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
blubluh Says:

I sure hope they'll take the issue of chametz sh'ava alav haPesach seriously and do a above-board mechiras chametz before Pesach. It'd be such a shame to have yet another "Jewish" enterprise produce products that observant Jews have to avoid for one reason or another.

VERY SIMPLE GET BEDATZ OR RAV LAUNDAO GIVE A HECKSHER. not some hecksher that always have a problem

7

 Aug 11, 2017 at 04:37 PM Applestein Says:

L'chaim

8

 Aug 11, 2017 at 04:50 PM The_Truth Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

IME experience recently in Israel it seems most businesses do mechiras chometz, i saw plenty of stores that had a certificate of mechiras chometz displayed without even a kashrus certificate. if these guys have any hechser on the whiskey which I'd guess they do, the rov would require mechiras chometz!

I would not assume anything.
Just as a side note, buying alcohol in Israel, especially at the airport, is problem of chametz sh'ava alav haPesach as whiskeys & spirits have a very long shelf life. always check for valid mechiras chometz.

9

 Aug 12, 2017 at 02:09 PM lazy-boy Says:

The Israelis make some of the best wines and the Israeli beer is top notch also. There is NO reason that they can not succeed with whiskey, but I do hope they get a good hechsher and not some junky one....

10

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