Israeli whiskey has arrived in America.
The Golan Heights Distillery from the mountains on the Syrian border is younger than Tel Aviv’s Milk and Honey -- its domestic rival -- but its finished product arrived in New York on or around Bastille Day (July 14), about a year ahead of the promised competition (whose three-year aged single malt will be, in fairness, a quite different product). That makes it, as far as I can tell, the first Israeli whiskey ever to go on general sale in America. (Please let me know if you know better.)
The River distributing company imported the first shipment of 600 bottles and made sure the Forward was able to taste bottle 577. Which is, at barely over a year old, surprisingly, quite palatable.
If you don’t care to know the details of how distiller David Zibell (pronounced Zee-bell) was born in France, lived in Israel (in Tzfat) for a couple of years as a child, and then finally made Aliyah to Israel from Montreal in 2014 only to find himself living on top of a hill making a variety of liquors, then you can jump to the tasting notes at the bottom. But it’s quite a tale, and I’ll tell it quickly.
Go here for the rest of Dan's tale, and his tasting notes.