28 February 2020

101st Whisky Insiders Interview - David Zibell

Golani Distillery (Israel)

Master Distiller


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I started in September 2014, so it's going on six years now. After learning so much about whisky making through studying and mentors, I finally realised my dream to make whisky and founded the Golani Distillery, two months after immigrating to Israel. After firing my first distillation in August just a couple of weeks earlier, I decided I would dedicate myself to making the best whisky I can and forever work on improving it.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
That would have to be releasing Israel’s first whisky on Israel independence day in 2016.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
My first dram ever was a J&B Rare blended Scotch whisky, but I was 17 and didn’t really care what I was drinking at the time. My first 'wow' whisky was Caol Ila 12 Year Old.

What does whisky mean to you?
Whisky is patience and diversity, from the grain, yeast, water, wood and maturation, to the community it’s created across the globe.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
A leading brand in my home market and a sought-after brand in the international market.

What was your last dram?
My last dram was an Ardbeg Corryvreckan.

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
Salty and smoked fish work best with whisky for me.

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
On Fridays after a long week, I sit in our sunroom with a dram and usually with an accompanying cigar.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
Malted rye whisky, micro distilleries and wide range of wood experiments are all big things that are in the beginning phases right now.

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without? 
That would have to be my first 'wow' whisky, Caol Ila 12 Year Old!

Many thanks to David Zibell. Who will be our next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!