Israel’s Milk & Honey Distillery has unveiled Apex Dead Sea whisky, the eighth installment in the distillery’s signature core line of forward-thinking whiskies. Back in April, the distillery launched the series with four new whiskies, including one matured in a Pomegranate wine cask.
The Apex Dead Sea is the first result of M&H Distillery’’s research and development program, which spotlights Israel’s distinct terroir and environment by experimenting with different climates for cask maturation while staying faithful to Scottish whisky traditions and legacy. Pushing the sector’s traditional boundaries, the brand takes advantage of Israel’s five unique climate zones defined by the late Dr. Jim Swan as the “Climate Playground” with the Dead Sea, Upper Galilee, Jerusalem mountains, the Negev desert, and the Mediterranean coast.
The Dead Sea experiment began in October 2018, when M&H placed 20 ex-bourbon, ex-red wine, and ex-STR casks on the rooftop of a hotel at approximately 1,387-feet (423 meters) below sea level. The casks matured in the Dead Sea for an entire year before being returned to the Tel Aviv warehouse and bottled in July 2021. The final result is a whisky that captures the Dead Sea’s distinct characteristics, including low annual precipitation, an arid and dry desert climate that can reach 122° fahrenheit in the summer, and a salt content 9.6 times that of the ocean, resulting in “angel’s share” of up to 25% per year, compared to only 2% in Scotland.
“Due to the evident rapid wood effect and maturation in this very hot and intense climate, we had to inspect the casks more frequently and thoroughly,” explained Tomer Goren, M&H Distillery’s head distiller. “Understanding the impact of the desert climate on the cask was a fascinating experiment and study project. I look forward to continuing our geographical experiments, with the Sea of Galilee and the Jerusalem Mountains coming up next.”
Bottled at 56.2% ABV, the Apex Dead Sea has a sweet nose with notes of French vanilla, chocolate, cigar box, and refreshing hints of spearmint, with a pleasant oakiness in the background. The taste starts with black tea leaves then builds with a robust surge of warm spices like cinnamon and coriander seeds, dark chocolate powder, and a pinch of crushed white pepper. The finish is long and pleasant, with candied ginger and cloves mingling with roasted herbs and coarse sea salt.
The Apex Dead Sea edition has already garnered several major awards, including Double Gold in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2021, Grand Gold in the Frankfurt International Trophy 2021, and Gold in the International Spirits Challenge 2021.
The first batch of the Apex Dead Sea is limited to 4,892 bottles and is available in select countries including France, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, Taiwan and Germany. It is priced at $140,
For more information, head over to M&H Distillery’s official website.