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Koval, coming in at 47% ABV (94 proof) is a bourbon whiskey with the requisite 51% corn but makes up the other 49% with the rather curious choice of millet grain. Only cutting in the “heart” of the distillate (meaning no heads or tails), it proves for a very clean expression. Their Koval Single Barrel Bourbon approach also aids in creating a bourbon that is both a showcase for the grains and a nod to the craft whiskey renaissance we are so lucky to be experiencing right now in the US.
Koval Single Barrel Bourbon appears caramel in the glass, akin to what we would normally expect from a stereotypical bourbon. However, on the nose, it becomes immediately clear that Koval is no average bourbon. Ethanol behind tart tropical fruit immediately hits the nose, followed by subtle sweetness, pepper, and melted butter. Koval doesn’t strike the nose as a typical bourbon expression.
On the palate, the first impression is remarkably like Smarties. The addition of millet to corn yields a soft chalkiness to the spirit, which is expressed in a sweet, starchy manner as opposed to a tannic manner. The warm tropical tart elements on the nose follow through on Koval’s finish. Like chewing the paper that always sticks to candy buttons, Koval leaves a pleasant powdery taste on the palate after sipping, in addition to dried fruit and pepper. Sulfured apricots come to mind last.