Jo’s corner: Tasting the Golani double wood matured two grain Israeli whisky

Produced from malted Concerto barley and local wheat, and distilled in small batches using traditional copper pot stills, at an elevation of 1300 feet above sea level, Golani is branded as Israel’s first whisky. It won bronze in the Whisky – Israel – Grain – NAS – 40% category at the IWSC 2018.

Golani double wood matured two grain Israeli whisky

Dram data:
Distillery: The Golan Heights Distillery
Bottler: official bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: –
Age: 36 months
Limitation: –
Cask: ex red wine (Cabernet) and new charred American oak
Alcohol: 40%
uncoloured

Colour
Dark red amber

Nose
There is an immediate huge sweet fruity explosion when you stick your nose in the glass. Raisins, sultanas, glace cherries, dates, all showing the influence of the red wine cask. Hints of exotic spices, too, aniseed, star anise and liquorice. It’s got the kind of nose that makes me wish I could dive into the glass, and I continued nosing it for about 20 minutes! As it warmed and breathed more aromas developed, warm freshly made toffee, citrus – lemon, grapefruit and orange marmalade, mocha, rum and raisin ice cream and vanilla. At this point, as a committed peathead, I’m starting to wonder if this dram is going to be too sweet for my taste, but onward to the palate…

Taste
Yes, there they are, all of those sweet fruits from the nose. It’s like eating them drizzled in honey … but wait, there’s more. The aniseed and liquorice is joined by crystallized ginger and white pepper on swallowing, to produce a very pleasant counterpoint to the sweetness. The mouthfeel is actually quite rich for the abv.

Finish
The finish is quite long, with the sweetness fading quickly, leaving a soft spiciness that just makes you want to take another sip.

Verdict
I’m very pleasantly surprised by this whisky. It’s very different from what I usually drink, but does remind me a bit of some bourbons that I’ve tried. It leaves me wondering what it would be like at a slightly higher abv, and where can I get a bottle of the red wine from the cask it was matured in.
I don’t do scoring of whisky, but I will say that this shows great promise for what is to come from this young distillery and I would recommend you try it if you get the chance.

This guest review was brought to you by malt mate Jo Lawson. You can connect with her on twitter @AlpacaJo and on Instagram @jo.lawson3

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