You can't call this a bourbon, but you can call it delicious.
Koval is the first small batch distillery in Chicago since the dark days of the prohibition era, and one of the leading craft distilleries in the US. It was founded in 2008 by Robert and Sonat Birnecker who abandoned their academic careers to follow their hearts. Growing up, Robert lived near Salzburg, Austria, and was immersed in a culture of small batch distilling, so perhaps this is destiny. For those of us who love great spirits, it is just good luck for us! The distillery supports sustainable agriculture and is certified as both organic and kosher—there’ll be no outsourcing for these kids. In eight short years they have expanded their miracle-working to … geez, just about everything from Gin, to Whiskey, to Liqueurs, and a bunch of other fiddly things, all of them professionally crafted and tasty-good. In fact, they are rated as one of the top ten small-batch distilleries in the US.
You can’t call Koval Four Grain a Bourbon. That’s because it has no corn at all in the mash bill. It’s made of oat, malted barley, rye, and wheat. They are also very particular about the barrels they use. These barrels are not just heavy-charred American White oak. They’re a very particular kind of oak called Minnesota Oak, adn they like it because it has a tighter grain pattern that adds a unique spice to the final dram. The net result is a very smooth Whiskey that has a unique and distinct banana essence. Coupled with that smoothness and spice, it’s sort of like drinking a Bananas Foster made with Rye Whiskey.
"US micro Whiskey of the year runner up"
- Whisky Bible 2017