Israel makes the desert bloom—with single malt
They don’t call it the Promised Land for nothing. Israel is now home to a handful of whiskey distilleries, Scotchwhisky.com’s Jake Emen reports. The first, Milk & Honey, opened its doors in 2014. In a region of the world that doesn’t exactly worship booze, Tel Aviv distillery offers three single-malt whiskies, two of them sold out.
They grow up so fast
That includes all 391 bottles of Israel’s First Single Malt Whisky, matured in American oak and ex-bourbon barrels and fully mature at the tender age of three, thanks to the nation’s hot, humid climate. Look for the 46% ABV number in worldwide release next year. Distiller Tomer Goren had some help from the late Jim Swan, fittingly dubbed the “Einstein of whisky.”
For wisdom from a living industry legend who combines scientific know-how with a sense of fun, check out this Food & Wine profile of Dr. Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s director of distilling and whisky creation. L’chaim!
Wide world of whiskey: Bottom-shelf edition
We like sniffing out the best whiskies—but what about some of the worst?
One man wondered where the world’s cheapest whiskey could be found. So he searched the entire planet and Internet for the distillery churning out the spirit with that ignominious title. The winner: Kadco Beverages in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The price: a few years back, a five-liter plastic jug of Black Booster Whisky went for just $3.65.* The only problem? Tasting it.
What do you have to lose—except maybe your eyesight?
This “premium quality whisky” is blended and, er, bottled in Sierra Leone, the label says. That checks out. The Kadco distillery launched in 2011, after then-president Ernest Koroma spurred the private sector to drive the West African country’s prosperity. The government invested heavily in businesses, and cheap-ass whiskey was one byproduct. So it can’t be all bad…right?
*All prices in U.S. dollars
Park that bottle next to the Ferrari
As F. Scott Fitgzerald wrote, the rich are different from you and me. That’s why they’re stocking up on whiskey insurance. With casks and bottles selling in the $1-million range at auction, Bloomberg News notes, some insurers have seen a big uptick in requests for coverage. For the firms that underwrite young moneybags’ collectibles, it looks like whiskey, watches and cars are the new trifecta. We know which horse we’d back.
Canadian, eh? Misleading to the last drop
This may not mean anything if you don’t know Revelstoke, British Columbia. But it turns out that Revel Stoke “Canadian whisky” isn’t actually from the picturesque ski town—gasp! (Neat Stuff blows this thing wide open.) It’s made by Minnesota-based Phillips Distilling Co., which liked the name and the ring of “Stoke and Coke.”
Willie Nelson sets the record straight for Phillips on the bargain brand’s real Canadian connection. In 2001, he says, the company released its Revel Stoke Spiced Whisky—the world’s first such drink—distilled in Calgary, Alberta. Wait, wait, wait: he can’t be the Willie Nelson, right? No, we checked that too. (He’s, like, the fifth Willie Nelson in his family.)
Holiday gift guide: The ryes have it
How many shopping days left? Forbes.com contributor Karla Alindahao is here to help with 10 of her favorite ryes. Feeling generous? Utah-based High West Distillery’s A Midwinter Night’s Dram Act 6 blend ($200) brings drama aplenty—“enough spice, a voluminous mouthfeel, an extraordinary finish, and a deeply complex flavor,” Alindahao writes. Her verdict on Port Finish ($75) by Sagamore Spirit in Maryland: “It smells wonderful, like Christmas Day for adults.” We’ll sip to that.