Israel has beaten off competition from Scotland and Japan to win the award for producing the best single malt whisky in the world.
This “land of wheat and barley, of vines and figs and pomegranates, of olives, oil, and honey,” now has a thriving malt whisky industry to add to the list.
Tel Aviv’s M&H (short for Milk and Honey), received the title of World’s Best Single Malt Whisky for its Elements Sherry Cask. It was handed the gong at the world’s largest and most respected competition – the World Whiskies Awards 2023, held by Whisky Magazine.
Scotland has long had competition from emerging markets – most notably Japan – for the crown of best distiller but this is the first time it has been beaten by a whisky from Israel.
In 2013 Gal Kalkshtein, M&H CEO and founder, established what was then the only Israeli whisky distillery, under the expert guidance of the late Dr Jim Swan.
Because of the climate, a three year old Israeli whisky can have the intensity of a ten year old from Scotland owing to high temperatures, which accelerate the distilling process.
M&H’s award-winning Sherry Cask is the first single malt for which a portion of the liquid is aged in kosher sherry casks. Like the brand’s Classic Cask, it’s bottled at 46% ABV (92 proof).
Another M&H whisky, Apex Dead Sea, is the first single malt to be aged in the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea, maturing at approximately 423 metres below sea level. Apex Pomegranate Wine Cask, meanwhile, is the first and only single malt to be fully matured in pomegranate wine casks.
The first Israeli whisky – the now defunct Ascot Special Deluxe Blended Scotch – came out in 1971.There are now three main single malt distilleries in Israel – M&H, Golan Heights and Pelter.
The full range of M&H in the UK can be purchased at www.masterofmalt