Bourbon and the Biblical Lands: A Love Story
The Ella Valley is green. I inhale deeply, sensing the faint smell of wine fermenting at the vineyard nearby. I can picture the corn that will soon be growing here and the future Legend’s Distillery that will transform that corn into American-style whiskey. I think back to the journey that brought me, an American-Israeli, to the precipice of building that distillery here in Israel.
I am standing with my family at New York’s Kennedy airport, anticipating my first trip to Israel. I have learned about the journey taken by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, been inspired by God’s might in the Exodus, and kind of look at King David as my own hero. In a few hours, I too will see the land that they inherited.
I have inherited something else from my family; a love for the golden corn-inspired whiskey we called bourbon. As a boy, even though I was too young to taste it, I loved seeing the red-wax-covered Maker’s Mark bottle on our Sabbath table, and got a kick out of drinks labelled Wild Turkey and Old Weller. I wondered who Elijah Craig was, and if Knob Creek was as fun a place as I imagined.
My first trip to Israel was everything I imagined it would be. We spent ten days watching the bible come to life. We prayed at Western Wall, gave charity at tomb of the Patriarchs, and took a dip in the Jordan River. But the place that captured my imagination was the Ella Valley. It was there where David slew the giant Goliath with nothing more than a Slingshot.
I got older and could finally taste the drinks that captured my imagination. I enjoyed the caramel and vanilla taste in Maker’s Mark; I relished the smooth finish of Knob Creek. I understood why my family preferred the corn-based whiskey over the scotches and ryes that seemed so popular in my neighborhood.
Bourbon and the State of Israel have been two of the great loves in my life. Their presence for me is constant, and I’m thrilled at the opportunity to combine those passions into my new product, Slingshot, an American-style whiskey named in honor of King David’s legendary shot. I feel at peace looking at the lush, green valley. I feel like I am at home.
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