What was the occasion: The last review didn’t sit well with me. For those of you who skipped it, it was also for a Milk & Honey release. I very much didn’t like it. Was very rough.
Contrary to your potential beliefs, I don’t like shitting all over bad whiskies. Bad whiskies mean that people out there will try them, decide they don’t like whisky, and I’ll keep having a hard time having any selection at a bar I visit.
So I opened another sample I had (initial picture is from the end-of-year tasting, however I had determined that I was done reviewing at that point, and poured a sample instead).
What whisky did we review? Milk & Honey 4 2018 Grumpy Dram, a four-year-old Milk & Honey peated single malt that was aged in an ex-Graignan red wine cask.
Well there’s quite a bit to pick apart there, so let’s dive in:
Typically when you have Milk & Honey releases, they are not peated. This is peated. So right off the bat we’re dealing with different milk & honey. Kinda like when you try camel milk and buckwheat honey for the first time.
Wait, did I do the opposite of what I normally do and went too liberal?
Moving on, we have the cask: I’ve had red wine casks in the past before, and find they are similar to sherry casks. I haven’t totally made up my mind about them yet. But what is a Craignan?
Welcome to my rabbit hole, ladies and gentleman. At first, I thought it was Graignan, a town in France known for red wine. Or it could be Carignan, a type of grape varietal. That’s what Serge wrote, and no one answered. I think I found a place in Quebec, Canada that has wineries too. Could it be an Israeli winery? We really don’t know. And if no one is answering Serge, they aren’t going to answer “guy who wrote edgy dumb humour whisky reviews on the website with the pedo Trump supporters” either.
So it’s red wine.
What’s the distillery? Milk & Honey, or M&H distillery, is a new distillery and the only one in Israel. They’ve been releasing whiskies and near-whiskies over the last few years. While they could call all of them whiskies, they use Scottish standards to mark the difference. As such, while this is the third M&H review I’ve done, it’s the first actual whisky.
What’s my bias? I don’t like explaining myself about Israel when I write these. Look at my last review for the full story. As such, I don’t talk about it.
As for the distillery, so far I’ve found some of their releases interesting, if still very young. I understand the distillery is in a warmer-than-Scotland country, and as such they’ll mature quicker. As quickly as India? I’m still debating that.
However I don’t make my mind up about distilleries. That’s not a cut-off sentence either. I’ve had 100+ Bruichladdich, and am still making my mind up about that distillery. So while I’ve had some “young single malts” from M&H, I think I should keep trying what they make.
Also I love peat mixed with sherry, red wine is like sherry, so I’m excited. Oh, and this was shared by ScotchGuy_TO, someone who’s had way, WAY more whisky than me, and he doesn’t pick bad stuff to pour.
So this has been hyped and… whatever the middle ground between hyped and not talked about.
Screw it, let’s just get to the whisky, shall we?
Price: € 100
Vintage: June 5 2018
Bottled: August 2, 2022
Cask type: Ex-Craignan Red Wine Cask
Cask number 2018-0713
No of bottles 267
Colour: 2.5YR 4/10
Nose: Pomegranate juice, honey, peanuts, faint funk
Really tart. Wherever Craignan is, it’s tart. Takes some time for that to move aside, making me wonder how peated this is. Did they go for a light peat, like anCnoc? Or a heavy peat, like Ardbeg? If I had to guess, it’s lightly peated, however this mystery red wine cask is not helping me figure it out.
Whatever this mystery cask is, it’s strong. Eventually I get funk and nuttiness, which I love and think I can ascribe to the whisky. Or at least feel like I can, and thus I”m enjoying the nose.
Taste: Burnt herbs, anise, dates, strawberry
Oh. There’s a good amount of peat then. On the flip side of the nose, you get tons of vegetal/herbal/smoke notes and anise, pointing to peat. Those are flavours that peat can add, so don’t message me about not reading “smoke”.
The date note is so good. It takes a simple, meh, “skip” whisky and slaps you upside the head with something rich and unctuous. It’s the star of this show. Granted I love dates, so that could be my bias.
Finish: Salted nuts, smoke/peat, yeast, molasses
Sadly the date note doesn’t continue, and instead you get a simpler, young finish. If the rest of the whisky is a simple, yet well constructed whole, the finish is season 7 of Game of Thrones: They’re trying, but it’s not the same.
There is a simple vegetal/smoke note, some raw yeast, some raw sugar and some salt/nuttiness. Not bad, certainly nicer to drink than previous offerings I’ve had, but it’s the weakest part of the whisky.
Conclusion: An interesting, if arguably still too young, whisky. I want to start by recognizing this is the best M&H release I’ve ever had. It was tart, had some richness, and really punched above what you’d expect from a new distillery. If you’ve had a M&H release and not liked it, you should keep yourself open to try this bottle, or perhaps another peated release in the future. Time may tell if I’m proven completely wrong on that point.
If the M&H peated whisky has a youngest age to start buying it, I’d say this release shows that it should be four-years-old. However the finish makes me pause these and wonder if another year or two would help? Then there’s the point that this is a single cask, which can vary greatly. Perhaps this is the best of the best. And who knows if they can get the cask type again.
I can’t make a rule on M&H products yet, but when discussing the Grumpy Dram, I think people should try this. If you like peat and sherry mixes and can buy this, you’ll be happy with it. Not blown away, but it’s certainly a good whisky by itself. Time will tell if it’s just the start or not.
World Whisky review #443, Israel review #3, Whisky Network review #2361