Koval Bourbon

Koval Bourbon (47%, OB, 2017)

  • Category: Illinois Bourbon Whiskey
  • Origin: Koval distillery
  • Bottling: Koval
  • ABV: 47%
  • Cost: £41.95


What they say:

KOVAL Distillery’s organic, single barrel bourbon has the requisite mash bill of at least 51% corn, but instead of the usual rye or wheat supplement, they have included one of the main cereals of Asia and Africa. Millet is a gluten-free ancient sustenance grain, and like corn, has a history of working in the spirits industry, albeit in Nepal, where it has long been celebrated as a libation of choice.

Tucked away in a charred new American oak barrel to age, millet and corn learn to complement each other, neither taking the lead. Out of the bottle, this duet opens with notes of mango chutney, while the millet renders a soft whisper of vanilla throughout. Then harmonizing, the grains sing with the sweetness of apricot custard. This pair finishes with peppery caramel, a diminuendo into a wisp of clove-spiked tobacco lingering on the tongue.

Small Batch. Single Barrel. Unfiltered. Heart cut. Organic.

What I say:

Many thanks to Tom of Toms Whisky Reviews for sharing these official Koval samples with me. Having covered pretty much the length and breadth of Scotch in the last few years I hope for 2017 to not only keep covering Scotch from all angles but also broaden my tasting knowledge of “world” whiskies.

Koval distillery was established in Illinois in 2008 becoming Chicago’s first distillery since the mid-1800’s. To read more about Koval see their official website. As part of the emergent US Craft Whiskey scene, I had first thought to put Craft Bourbon, but in fact the majority produced is not Bourbon, Koval are experimenting with non-traditional grains (at least for US whiskey) with a strong use of Millet. Perhaps more familiar as Bird seed/feed here in the UK,  Millet is gluten free, so this (51+%) Corn and Millet Bourbon is completely Gluten Free!


Dark gold with bronze highlights (11/20), super-fine tears leave fine legs


Sweet honey, beeswax polish, banana, treacle, banana fritters, creme brulee, slightly floral, estery pear drops, pineapple cube sweeties, banoffee pie


Rich and syrupy sweet, honey spiced with a little cinnamon and nutmeg, a touch of black pepper adds heat, caramelised sugars with a gentle fruitiness, toffee, peach, butterscotch, banoffee pie, millionaires shortbread, biscuit, caramel, a little new plastic


Quite short and sweet


Very nice! A wonderful combination of banana and toffee

Score: 86/100

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Categories: America, Koval

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1 reply »

  1. I recently had (and reviewed) this one, too. I loved it! Coming up with halfway profound tasting notes was a bit hard for me though, as I am mostly a Scotch guy and don’t have much experience with bourbon… still: This bottle needs to find its way in my whisky shelf!


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