Origin: Chicago, IL (USA)
Type: Millet Whiskey
Ageing casks: Minnesota Oak toasted
Added coloring: No
Owner: Koval Distillery
Average price: € 55.00
Official website: www.koval-distillery.com
Here we come to the third and probably most distinctive whiskey produced by Koval. As I have mentioned in previous reviews, there are four aspects to take into account when trying one of the products of this Chicago distillery:
– They use only organic grain from the Midwest;
– They perform a very rigorous distillation that discards head and tail to select only the parts that are free of defects;
– They age their whiskeys in small 30-gallon barrels made by a Minnesota producer;
– All of their bottles are single barrel (i.e., they come from the separate bottling of individual barrels, rather than a complete blend of the entire batch).
The special thing about this whiskey is definitely the grain from which it’s made: millet. Its main advantage is that it contains no gluten and is considered a kosher food. Millet isn’t widely used in the USA, but it has always been used in distillery and brewery blends (earning it the name ‘fourth grain’ after barley, corn, and rye). Yet as a main grain it’s extremely rare, so much so that one can count on the fingers of one hand the producers who have ventured to distil it entirely in recent years (and of these only Koval has made it one of its main bottlings).
The colour of this millet whiskey is a warm ochre with golden highlights, as always natural and unfiltered.
Already on the nose it presents itself in a very atypical way: under a light vanilla powder there are smoky notes with traces of aniseed and liquorice. There’s a bit of barbecue and some balsamic recollection climbing on the alcohol. Although it doesn’t offer any particular richness, this very clean and frank profile certainly entices you to bring the glass to your lips.
In the mouth, it’s just as clean and distinct: hints of caramel and liquorice toffee open up on a distinct base of pearl millet (for those who are familiar with the flavour, this cereal stands out clearly from its brethren). There is also a curious savoury base that fortunately succeeds in making you salivate enough to counteract the rather astringent finish of hot, dry smoke.
The persistence is short, but like the rest it is clean and free of annoyances.
This millet is truly a curious product and difficult to compare with any other proposal currently on the Italian market. It’s at its best on the rocks, since it can be a little too dry when served straight, and offers a simple and straightforward dram that isn’t banal. It has a nice drink, tasty and uncomplicated, which, depending on the situation, can lead you to happily down several glasses or to be satisfied with a small shot.
The Whiskey Wash