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Israeli Whisky Is Now the Best Single Malt Whisky in the World

M&H, which stands for milk and honey, is Israel’s first whisky distillery, and the only one that has won awards.
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April 28, 2023
Photos courtesy Sherry Klinger

Israel is known for many things. “Silicon Wadi” is the Silicon Valley of the Middle East. Tel Aviv is the vegan capital of the world. Some of the best TV shows come out of the country.

Tel Aviv’s M&H Distillery recently won the coveted single malt whisky award for its Element Sherry Cask at the prestigious World Whiskies Awards 2023 competition in England.

And now, it’s also home to the best single malt whisky in the world. Tel Aviv’s M&H Distillery recently won the coveted single malt whisky award for its Element Sherry Cask at the prestigious World Whiskies Awards 2023 competition in England. It was also named “Distiller of the Year” and “Craft Producer of the Year” in “The Rest of the World” category of the same competition.

M&H, which stands for milk and honey, is Israel’s first whisky distillery, and the only one that has won awards. Entrepreneur and investor Gal Kalkshtein started the brand, which produces kosher whisky that’s sold in 40 countries around the world.

“We’ve always wanted to make the best whisky in the world, and we’re thrilled that our whiskies have received unprecedented international acclaim,” said Kalkshtein, who is founder of GKI Group and owns more than 16 companies. “This is only the beginning for us.”

Kalkshtein started M&H in 2013 after he began brewing beer at home with a friend. He received guidance from the late Dr. Jim Swan, a world-renowned master distiller from Scotland. 

“We realized it might be fun to distill whisky,” Kalkshtein said. “I gathered a few people in the alcohol industry and asked their thoughts on opening a distillery in Israel, a country with no distilling history. People told me it was impossible, so I decided to make it happen.”

The company offers private and group tours as well as workshops at the visitor center. It produces a variety of products, including the M&H classic whisky, which uses bourbon casks and special red-wine STR (shaved, toasted and re-charred) casks, a whisky called Apex Dead Sea, which is sweet with French vanilla and mocha, notes of cigar box and a refreshing hint of spearmint, and an Art & Craft series featuring whisky from chocolate beer, barley wine and stout beer casks. The Apex Dead Sea won the gold medal at the Frankfurt International Trophy 2022. While M&H was launched in 2013, they didn’t start selling their whisky commercially until the end of 2019. 

The secret to good whisky, according to Kalkshtein, is the hot and humid climate in Israel. 

“It aids in rapid maturation and flavor extraction,” he said. “It enables us to experiment and obtain results relatively quickly. We love to experiment and use any and all casks we can find.”

Since starting M&H Distillery, Kalkshtein has seen other distilleries pop up around Israel, which could help it become known as a whisky-producing country. 

“I hope we can inspire them all to produce the highest quality whisky possible and establish a quality section of Israeli whisky,” he said. 

Winning the award is not only great for M&H Distillery; it’s also a positive for the country as a whole. 

“It puts Israel in a good position, in my opinion,” said Kalkshtein. “Israel is already known for its high-tech industry and innovations. This is yet another example that anything is possible if we set our minds to it and put all of our hearts, minds and efforts into it.”

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