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.
Rye Whiskey Business 101: rule number one — rye is the majority shareholder. In order to be called a Rye Whiskey, at least 51% of the mash bill must be rye grain. The folks at Koval take Whiskey-nomics to an entirely new level… try 100% Rye.
You read correctly. This Whiskey is produced from 100% organic rye sourced from a local organic farmer collective in the Midwest. Aged from 18-24 months in 30-gallon, new charred oak barrels, this single grain Whiskey is not only pure rye, it's surprisingly light and fresh on the tongue. Rather than a kick, there's just a kiss of spice on the finish. How the hell do they do it? Pure magic.
Very smooth Rye. Lighter than some but very nice both for sipping and as a Manhattan.
The only bourbon I ever poured down the drain. Floral acetone. Not for me.
Light and fresh is right. Too light. Lacking in flavor.
My wife preferred it to my spicier ryes, especially when I made her a Manhattan, so I’ll leave it to her.
Delightfully smooth and well rounded
It had an off flavor i cant describe not pleasing at all I would'nt buy again
I remember tasting this at a bar on Martha’s Vineyard and liking it so much that I walked all across Boston trying to find a bottle to purchase. I haven’t had it since then (it’s been at least 3 years), so I’m not sure how I’d like it now. But I LOVE smooth bourbons and whiskeys.
Smelled of acetone and tasted about the same. Another taster and I had the same impression. I gave it away to a friend as we couldn't drink it.
Not a fan. Tastes a little peaty, which I was not expecting at all. Probably would not get this again.
Very smooth mild whiskey
Not my favorite by far. Smells like pure alcohol and tastes about the same. Flavor spiral is far off on this one.
Wonderful rye, sweet with a fine finish
Still developing my palette. To me this is spicy with a vanilla finish as described. I like it.
spicy start to a sweet, warm cinnamon vanilla finish. It was my great introduction to whisk(e)y
and a pleasant afternoon splash.
Not a fan of drinking it alone, but it works well in an Old Fashioned.
Not as “sweet “ as I expected Whiskey is whiskey though. Maybe if I find the right mixer for it I could enjoy it more. Plenty to try it different ways though!
better than average but not worth the price. $50 can get you much better bottles of bourbon or rye.
Spice is moderate. A sweeter rye than expected. I generally prefer earthier ryes. This really isn’t that. Tasty and smooth but not worth the price, IMO. Probably wouldn’t buy again but will enjoy this bottle until the last drop.
Not my favorite. A bit astringent.
Tasted like pure pine sap, hard pass.
Super smooth, Taste of cinnamon vanilla and wood, just the right amount of spice.
Not a professional. This was a great whiskey. While not my all time favorite will definitely purchase again.
Very disappointed. There was an almost rubber tire flavor. Not very enjoyable at all.
Just the right balance of spicy and mellow
Super smooth. Almost too smooth. Not bad, but would like a little more bite to it.
The beautiful blend of sweetness, with a little spice make this quite the delightful treat.
A smooth rye with a clean finish. I’d like a bit more depth of flavor, but it’s an easy rye to drink.
Initial flavor was medicinal, mostly a rubber taste. Could not get past it. Not enjoyable at all. Will not but this again.
Extremely smooth, nice vanilla and caramel after taste.
Very smooth. Interesting (in a good way) flavor profile. Had in a tasting box and ordering a full bottle.
Good rye, but not as much personality as I prefer. Very smooth, neutral taste without much spice or heat. If that’s your preference, you’ll probably love it—my wife sure did.
Insanely smooth and sweet for a 100% rye! Very likeable. Reminds me of the very friendly Bulleit Rye kicked up a notch.
very smooth and loved the caramel notes. full of flavor and its too bad that i tried this tasting first before the others because the others were not as good after this one.
Wow. Just wow. So smooth. So refreshing?!? Can I even use that word to describe a whisky? Well I just did. None of the "major flavors" are overpowering to the point where you cannot explore the undertones. I've had it room temp. I've had it over granite rocks. Put this on your shelf. Share with your friends, or don't. Definitely share.
Had a sip in my tasting box. Smoooth operator. Will be ordering a full size and testing some cocktails, but this is nice when it's neat for sure.
Tastes like a sugar cookie, with that classic rye spicy flavor. Very nice, makes an excellent ol’ fashioned too.
Excellent, smooth rye. Always enjoyable.
One of the smoothest ryes I've ever had. The hint of vanilla is phenomenal.
If you're looking for a spicy rye = disappointing. If you're looking a mellow vanilla with zero nose and a sweet after taste = good.
Very smooth with a peppery after taste
Definitely Rye Rye
Spicy, a bit smoky, woody, sweet finish.
Pretty good for Manhattans, don't prefer it for sipping neat.
A strong spice and rye taste that tapers off with a smooth sweetness. I can see having a few fingers of this a night.
Pleasant and airy but a bit hollow for me.
Smooth and light when taken neat. Very pleasant aroma. Solid choice all around if you're not looking for something to knock your socks off. Literally got this two days after I ordered it. Seems like Flaviar got some of their shipping issues worked out.
Aromas of cinnamon, clove, vanilla on the nose. Flavors come in with a dash of the spicy notes you'd expect of a 100% Rye mash, however the light brown sugar and vanilla help smooth the cinnamon-y edge out nicely. Lightly grain-y rye bread notes creep in after. The finish is smooth, slightly dry and gently spicy, with oak trailing on after. Definitely on the lighter side of rye, I find myself wishing for a higher proof expression for mixing purposes, as I felt it got a touch overwhelmed by the angostura bitters and sugar in an Old Fashioned. For neat drinking, though, this might be the best Rye I've sampled yet.
A bit harsh- better with some vermouth in a Manhattan than straight up.
Sweet, vanilla caramel forward with a oak finish. Very smooth. Little to sweet for my liking
Very smooth. I am new to this but this fit my flavor profile quite nicely.
Cinnamon and Vanilla forward. Makes an outstanding Manhattan.
Very smooth rye. Soft honey opening with smooth oak and rye finish.
Better with ice. Good, but not as smooth as some of the other Ryes.
So Good! Will be purchasing more!
Loved it. Smooth
A flavorful Rye. Tastes of vanilla and cloves, oaky with a smooth low burn on the finish. I really like this Rye!
Very smooth with a bit of sweet on the end. My fave at the moment.
Unfortunately I was suffering from a sinus infection when I got my bottle of this stuff so I can really say much. Except it was really smooth and help my throat not feel like razor blades were slicing my throat. I do wish it would have been higher in abv that's really about it. I don't think I'll be buying this one again anytime soon. I might give it another shot in the future if the come out with a higher abv expression.
Rye, cinnamon, vanilla; not to spicy
So far, this is one of my favorite rye whiskies. I prefer a lighter side rye on the rocks and this fits the bill. No burn and a great finish.
The initial burn made me question this at first, but it mellows quickly and has a nice finish. I wouldn’t drink this neat, but adding an ice cube, or a couple drops of water opens it up nicely and levels out that kick
Definitely a mixer. Not worth the price.
did not like the pepper kick of the bat but the smooth long finish made up for it.
Great for an Old Fashioned.
Great to make and old fashioned with.
Smooth. Great flavor. Not as spicy as most Ryes, but overall great whiskey
Smooth, with the spice coming through the vanilla and honey.
Very smooth, not strong alcohol taste, caramel helps it roll around in your mouth nicely.
Tasty smooth a little sweet creamy Carmel
Very smooth tasting.
Easy drinking rye.
This is a surprisingly sweet rye. I am stunned that it's from 100% rye mash. There are definitely the earthy rye notes but like the others say there are more prevalent notes of vanilla and perhaps honey. It's very well balanced. Great buy! It's perhaps better than a lot of bourbons (which I generally prefer).
I like and kosher too
This is the best rye whiskey in my opinion. I'll definitely be buying more.
Very Smooth. The finish is excellent, and easy to identify the flavors hidden within. Excellent Rye.
Very smooth and clean finish. Little honey and very light vanilla tones. Similar to Red Breast 12 yr. Except this is smoother. Right in line with Basil Hayden. I would buy it again.
I found the Koval Rye to be smooth, tasty, and easy on the palate, on the rocks or with splash of ginger ale. I would recommend it to those whose taste are more tailored to smoother blends.
Beautiful and sweet
Very smooth with a tasty finish.
Great flavor! Not too stout, not too sweet, just right.