56.2% - Batch no. 010 (total batch out-turn 4892 bottles)
No, this whisky hasn't been matured in a cask that was lowered to the bottom of the dead sea. But it was matured in the lowest dry place on the planet: The Dead Sea, Israel. It's roughly 400 meters below sea level and the temperature can reach an eye-watering (or evaporating), 50°C. Throw in the fact that the average annual rainfall is around 50mm, it's quite an extreme place to be.
So why not select a hotel roof that's exposed to the sun, by the coast of the Dead Sea to store a number of casks full of whisky to see what happens? Sure! Oh, and the casks will lose up to 40% of their contents as a result of the extreme environment, but hey..... "for science!"
Appearance: Dark amber with thin oily legs.
Nose: Hints of mint are there straight away. I wasn't expecting that. Then waves of dried fruit, figs, damp earth, and strawberry ice cream with a sprinkling of chopped nuts make an appearance. There's also a gravelly note as well. It's very multi-layered.
Palate: Light at first before waves of sugar-coated almonds appear with some warming spice. Now some vanilla custard appears followed by some banana and dried walnuts. Then I picked up a sort of Play-Doh note. Hasbro (who are the company behind Ply-Doh), describe their trademarked scent as "a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla-like fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, and the natural smell of a salted, wheat-based dough" - and yes, this is what I picked up. And just to throw another curveball in the final seconds of flavour, I detected a fleeting hint of crispy seaweed right at the very end. That's a first for me and it is quite pleasant.
Finish: Long, but quite light and elegant. Some alcoholic fizz stays in the mouth whilst a gentle dry tannin bite lingers.
Conclusion: Not a whisky to be rushed as the aroma and flavours appear at different stages through the journey. This is definitely one to hold in the glass for a good while so you can explore all the layers. The high ABV of 56.2% is also tame and so well camouflaged, you need to be very careful.
Available for around £90-£100 (at the time of writing)
Read more about the Milk & Honey Distillery here