Best International Whisky -- Rye, InterWhisky Competition, 2013. US Micro Whiskey Of The Year -- Four Grain, Runner Up -- Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2017. Gold Medal Bourbon -- 2014 International Whisky Competition.
Koval started its life as a craft distillery, founded in Chicago in 2008, as the first distillery in Chicago’s city limits since Prohibition. Founders Robert and Sonat Birnecker left their professional lives in academia to found Koval. They have been crafting certified organic whiskeys, brandies, liqueurs and specialty spirits from scratch, ever since. Being the first distillery within city limits since the mid-1800s, Koval brings Austrian distilling traditions to America.
Koval is named after founder Sonat's great-grandfather, who earned Koval the nickname Koval, when, at the very early age of 17 he emigrated from Vienna to Chicago at the start of the 1900s, to start a business. Robert was bequeathed a treasure trove of distilling knowledge and expertise from his grandfather, Robert Schimd.
"Being a craft distiller allows us to be flexible and bring a new approach to the market," says Sonat Birnecker, the founder of Koval Distillery. "Craft can be different. Different in business model. Different in product. Craft is a way to be creative." Together with her husband, Robert, Birnecker founded Koval Distillery — Chicago's first distillery since Prohibition — in 2008.
Koval Distillery, which is situated just a few feet away from Hollywood Beach in Chicago's North End, boasts a custom-made, 2,000 gallon, Kothe Destillationstechnik copper-pot still imported from Germany. A bespoke still equipped with an elongated whiskey helmet and a unique bubble cap design. ”I come from a family that's been distilling for over a hundred years in Austria," explains Robert, who has been distilling spirits himself since he was a child. "My grandfather had a distillery in Austria and I would help him to make different eau de vies and brandies when I was growing up. He taught me the importance of having the right equipment and using fresh, organic ingredients.”
Koval distillery is a grain-to-bottle operation, sourcing their grains from a local organic farmer collective in the Midwest. The grain is milled and mashed on-site, and only the heart cut makes it into the bottle. All enzymes and yeast used in production are non-GMO, and the water is sourced from Lake Michigan, purified using a natural charcoal method. The heart distillate of their whiskey is aged in bespoke charred American oak casks sourced from a cooperage in Minnesota, for 2-4 years. Each bottle is filled from a single barrel, before being labeled by hand, onsite.
Koval Rye Whiskey is made from 100% organic rye grains. With its aromas and flavors of rye, cinnamon and baking spices, the Wall Street Journal said, ”This is no ordinary rye.” Koval Four Grain Whiskey has a nose of banana and dried, tropical fruits, which is followed by notes of oak, buttery bread, and a spicy finish. Koval Four Grain won a Gold Medal at the International Whisky Competition in the "American Whisky" category. Koval Bourbon is made from only organic corn and millet. One of the major grains of Asia and Africa, it has aromas and flavors of mango, vanilla, apricot, pepper, clove, and caramel.
Koval Four Grain won a Gold Medal at the International Whisky Competition in the "American Whisky" category. Koval Bourbon is made from only organic corn and millet. One of the major grains of Asia and Africa, it has aromas and flavors of mango, vanilla, apricot, pepper, clove, and caramel.
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3 x 200 mL
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Koval Rye Tasting Notes:
Spicy nose with initial flavors of cinnamon, rye and baking spices. Full-bodied and rich, with spicy notes that lead to a sweet finish with touches of vanilla, honey, and caramel.
Koval Four Grain Tasting Notes:
Koval Four Grain Whiskey has a nose of banana and dried, tropical fruits, which is followed by notes of oak, buttery bread, and a spicy finish.
Koval Single Barrel Bourbon Tasting notes:
Aroma of sweet vanilla, delicate spices, and cloves. Notes of soft citrus, apricots, mangos vanilla, caramel and whipped cream. Smooth, semi-sweet finish.