Noam Cohen and Alan Cohl ain’t your typical run-of-the-mill whiskey makers, and that seems to be just the point of their brand and their story – and their style for that matter.
These two gentlemen are making what they call a “Kentucky Whiskey”, but it’s not as much what they are making as it is where they making it where their story really becomes interesting.
Legends Distillery, is located roughly 6,200 miles from Kentucky…in Israel. Even more precise, it is within the Ella Valley, a stone’s throw away from the actual biblical site of David vs Goliath. Their “Kentucky Whiskey” inspired release from winter 2021 is appropriately named Slingshot. And the distillery name itself, Legends, will continue to have releases named in honor of the biblical relevance of their location.
Turning Water Into Whiskey
Cohen and Cohl first launched the brand 3 years ago after having thorough whiskey making training from America. Per an article from Israel21c.org, Cohen (4th generation American) can remember being a young child in NYC and hearing his grandfather tell tales of the 1920’s and his father having visitors in the wee hours for “medicinal purposes”;) Selling booze runs in Cohen’s blood.
Prior to being whiskey makers, Cohl was a Harvard educated architect as Cohen was a finance professional. Both men still practice their day jobs when not being pertained by distilling and tasting duties. They had a pivotal moment one evening while smoking cigars and drinking Bourbon as they decided then and there, this was their calling. And now here they are, turning water into whiskey.
About The “Kentucky Whiskey”
Their first release, Slingshot, is modeled after traditional Bourbon. The mashbill is 60% corn, the secondary grain being wheat. Strategy utilizing the philosophy of wheat’s “softer” tones. Obviously, being made in Israel, not America, is Reason #1 they can’t call it Bourbon.
To add to that list, their whiskey is aged in used American Oak barrels formerly housing Cab wines from surrounding Kosher wineries. To be Bourbon, it must be aged in NEW charred oak containers (not specifically barrels, but they roll so well:)). They claim their barrels are charred substantially more than standard whiskey barrels, adding unique taste ambiance.
Slingshot was noted as 2 to 2.5 years aged and first debuted Winter 2021.
There are currently three existing expressions available: Small Batch, Single Barrel and Barrel Proof. For now the whiskey is ONLY available in Israel and for purchase online. They claim to have already sold 20,000 bottles to US purchasers.
PROBLEM: Per an article by Robb Report’s Jonah Flicker, the gumptious new whiskey makers do have a little problem as “Kentucky Whiskey” is defined by law, KY House Bill 100 to precise which states “from grains which are cooked, fermented and distilled in Kentucky and aged in barrels for at least one year.” The two owners didn’t seem to be to terribly troubled as they noted soon changing the label to read “corn mash Israeli Whiskey”. Sounds like you better get the “Kentucky Whiskey” label version while you can.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It’s a nice story of two gents taking back a little piece of America back to their ethnic cradle and trying something new. In the spirit of the giant conquering David and facing the challenges ahead, go get ’em guys!