Hot on the heels of the Maltstock bottling, Archives released a Milk & Honey as well. Not from a mix of casks, but from a single bourbon barrel. What’s not to like? Well, the rocket fuel ABV, maybe?
While I didn’t shy away from high ABVs a couple of years ago, I tend to prefer lower cask strengths nowadays. With my prefered ABV being somewhere in the high fourties (let’s say 48 to 50%), this is a lot more. A lot more than anything I have in my collection, I think.
Of course, high ABVs like this aren’t too rare in the high end bourbon section, with Buffalo Trace’s George T. Stagg regularly crossing the 70% line. Interestingly, this indicated once again that very dry climates make the alcohol percentage go up instead of down with the angel’s share taking more water, in comparison to the much wetter climate in Scotland.
Anyway, a review of this bottling that came out only two days ago!
This might not be a good choice to have as a first whisky of the day. The nose bites. It’s super sharp and I really need time to warm up… There’s a lot of wood influenced sweetness, not unlike the Maltstock bottling. Some roasted bell peppers, pork marinade, grilled mango. Lots of chipotle peppers too.
The palate is expectedly hot too, with roasted bell peppers, chipotle and sawdust. A second sip is slightly more welcoming, but still dry and hot. Dried spices, smoked paprika (in heat, not in smokiness). Oak, pineapple skin, grilled pineapple and dried mango. Some ginger too.
The finish is surprisingly gentle, but only compared to the heat on the first sip. It’s still dry as hell, but the heat is quite diminished. A long finished with the spiciness lingering longest. There’s some fruitiness here too, similar to the palate.
While it has some similarities to the Maltstock bottling, there is less sweetness going on due to not having any rum casks in the mix. Also, the flavor profile is not all over the place due to the total randomness of casks being used. While that might sound like less complexity, it does make for a tasting experience in which it is slightly easier to indicate flavors and aromas. All in all, a very solid dram from the Israeli distillers, even though the heat is slightly challenging.