Earlier this month, Milk & Honey Distillery launched the entire Elements series. The Sherry Cask was already available in select markets but the other two Elements were released in tandem due to COVID-19 impact and they should reach markets in the coming month or two.
The M&H Elements series is exploring different casks (and more specifically – their previous content) impact on M&H spirit. There are three elements in the series which is part of the core range and will be available on a regular basis in all markets carrying M&H wares:
- Red Wine Cask – The M&H whisky was matured in Israeli Red Wine casks
- Sherry Cask – The M&H whisky was matured in Kosher sherry casks (Oloroso and PX) made in a Jerez Bodega especially for the distillery.
- Peated – The Whisky was matured in ex-bourbon and ex-Islay casks for a gentle peated whisky.
M&H Elements Red Wine Cask (46%, ₪249)
Nose: At first you do feel the M&H Classic DNA here as it starts with a fresh bourbony notes of honey and vanilla and gentle wine notes but then you get flooded by a strong red wine influence, strongly fortified with extra wine beyond the STR casks used for the Classic. Oak spice, cinnamon, tannins, raspberries and cranberries with a floral side, licorice. After a few minutes it gets more red fruits and sweeter with a touch of sourness. A fresh and luscious nose.
Palate: Spicy with white pepper, a touch of licorice, wine tannins, honey, raisins, cinnamon, thyme, red grapes and sweet wine, raspberry, drying. Good rich body and mouthfeel for 46%
Finish: Medium length, gentle spice, tannins, red fruits, vanilla and honey.
Nose: Again the Classic is noticeable here with the Bourbon cask impact of vanilla and honey, red fruits but with different style – this time it’s sweeter with dried apricots, prunes, sweet cinnamon, milk chocolate. There’s a constant honeyed freshness in the background. After a few minutes, more sherry influence with more red fruits sweetness and chocolate.
Palate: Spicy too but it’s accompanied with more sweetness to balance it. Honey, vanilla, white pepper, cinnamon, oak spice, milk chocolate, some dark chocolate nibbles, cinnamon and nutmeg, at the end it veers to some pleasant bitterness.
Finish: Medium length, chocolate, lingering spice and white pepper, honeyed dried red berries.
M&H Elements Peated (46%, ₪249)
Nose: Also starts with the Classic nose, just a bit shifted to a smoky side, vanilla, honey, a bit dryness (which I attribute to the STR casks tannins). After a few more minutes more wine impact and less peat (it’s almost gone).
Palate: Here the peat is more pronounced, a bit of smoke, charring and ashes (ex-Ardbeg casks maybe?), white pepper, tannins, a splash of wine, slightly bitter.
Finish: Medium length, vanilla and honey, white pepper. encapsulating peat smoke.
Thoughts: Kudos to Tomer Goren, the head distiller at M&H. and the team for some excellent work here.
The Red Wine Cask is very well crafted, with a good balance between the wine casks and the bourbon casks, rich and tasty and it offers a unique display of new world whisky. Personally, I think this is what it means to produce a new world whisky – offer good whisky with distinct flavors and profile.
I also liked the Sherry cask as well and it will appeal to those who don’t want to steer off much from the mainstream Scotch whisky profile. There are lovely sherry notes there with chocolate – a perfect session dram and a good stepping stone for those coming from Scotch and the M&H Classic – I believe this will be a smash hit along with the Red Wine Cask.
And lastly the Peated Element – by the way, did you noticed the word Cask is missing there? That’s because of the distillery plans for future different batches. While this first batch is indeed a peated cask variety, further batches may actually includes peated whisky as well in addition to ex-peated casks, hence the lack of Cask word in the name. Personally I didn’t find this Peated Element as good or as well balanced as the other two elements. The Sherry and Red Wine variants has a very distinct balance between the Classic DNA and the casks. while in the Peated Element it’s far more closer to the Classic profile. I guess I expected a bit more of peat influence so it will reach the same balance point. But even if it’s not up my alley, it’s too well crafted and rich whisky, offering an excellent introduction to Peated whisky with a gentle influence.