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Chicago, Illinois, USA
Based in Chicago, KOVAL (taken from a Yiddish word, the literal meaning of which is "blacksmith" but also "black sheep" ) is a distillery that takes a maverick approach to its craft.
They pride themselves on using only the heart cut - no heads or tails - and aging in 30 gallon charred barrels – the effect of which is to accelerate maturation, producing whiskey that tastes older, faster.
Like all of their grains, the millet (an ancient, drought-resistant seed) for this whiskey was sourced from a local organic farm collective.
Unfiltered, gluten-free and certified kosher, this whiskey is bottled from a single barrel, so there might be slight variations in flavor and texture.
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Bright cereal sweetness and almond biscuits get us going, accompanied by some fresh pencil shavings, vanilla and cracked black pepper.
An oily and mouth-coating delivery. Vanilla and vivid virgin oak burst onto the palate, with dried banana, star anise and green apple. Toasted coconut and almond emerge with time.
A short finish, with the honeyed sweetness of the grain central. A little barrel char appears, offering a welcome touch of smoky complexity.