David Zibell, founder of Golani distillery up north in Kazrin in expanding to yet another distillery, this time in the Jerusalem area, called “Yerushalmi”. As opposed to the Golan distillery, this one is going to be making only Peated whisky. Now, Peated whisky is also being made at Tel Aviv’s M&H, but as a minority distillation regime, where here the that’s the distillery character. Interestingly enough David uses Speyside Scottish Peat and Dutch malt to make the whisky…
I’ve been given two young samples for review, the first of which is the new make , and the second is a very young (only 6 months in oak). Always nice to try new make and then the same liquid having spent some time in wood. Let’s have a try.
Yeruslahmi new make , 63% abv
Nose: Quite sweet to start with, light peat, fresh fruit some smoke, but not as much as I had expected… It reminds me of mezcal, which is nice. Clean and spicy with a peppery tang, and maybe a hint of seaspray and middle eastern spices.
Palate: The smoke is much stronger here, with quite some peat smoke, earth, char and soot, more pepper, a bit hot and very earthy.
Finish: more peppery spice, earth, and soot. long.
Conclusion: A fine example of peated new make, with the young fruity profile and a very nice light smoke on the nose, with the pepper and spices and earth getting stronger on the palate and finish. Certainly a good beginning, now the wood has to do its magic.
Young Peated Single Malt, 62% abv (6 months in French oak)
Nose: This does feel young, but not 6 months young – which is nice, some new makish notes remain mostly of apple and pear, as well as some light smokiness, in addition to sweeter vanilla, toeffeed note (from the casks obviously. Wild honey, and hints of pepper – i can still smell that mezcal-y quality which I quite like. Nice progress.
Palate: Peat earth and black pepper on the first wave of flavors, then more spicy smoke, sweet vanilla fudge and some wood shavings, quite hot (spicy hot), a hint of pine resin, tea, and wood tannins with a dry and bitter ending.
Finish : Sweet, vanilla custard, wood tannins and sweet / peppery smoke.
Conclusion: While there are some hints of young age and a few new-makish notes, 6 months have really made this young whisky quite enjoyable. The smoke and peppery mezcal are really enhanced by the sweet and woody notes it absorbed from the french oak. I look forward to tasting this having spent a few more months in the cask. Good progress and good work.
If you’re a peat lover and enjoy your smoky whiskies, I would pay close attention to what’s going on at the Yerushalmi distillery. Interesting.
*I do not score young whiskies and new make spirits – hence no scores.