2015 is upon us, and I hope you have enjoyed Bargain Bourbon’s past year as much as I have. As always, a massive “Thank You” to all my readers of Bargain Bourbon and the people in my life who put with me through all my bloggings, musings, and rantings. So, on that note, what better way to open up 2015 than with a little whiskey review?
At WhiskyLive Boston 2014, I was introduced to Koval Distillery, out of Chicago. I reviewed their bourbon, and found it to be a refreshing take on bourbon that pushed the envelope without sacrificing the integrity of the product. Needless to say, I was pretty fired up to dabble in some more Koval spirit. So, I’m kicking off 2015 with a review of Koval’s rye whiskey. This is a single barrel, 100% rye whiskey with no age statement (but I suspect we are talking about a 2-3 year-old whiskey). The particular barrel I am reviewing is Barrel #331, and it is bottled at 80 proof (40% abv).
At first whiff, this is dry stuff, damn near non-liquid with notes of sawdust, dill weed, turpentine, nutmeg, and ginger. It is a sharp, very dry nose, and while it might not be everybody’s cup of tea, I like it. The palate is light in its body, with some sawdust, ginger, dry rye, and cinnamon candy. The finish is spicy, sharp, and bone dry. As this whiskey worked down in the bottle, it really opened up in its body, cutting through its dry character to become softer and more approachable on the palate.
Overall, this is definitely a great cocktail rye (especially if paired with an especially sweet vermouth in a Manhattan), but it also works well on its own. This is a very versatile whiskey that will only improve with a few more years in the barrel helping it along. If you like great rye cocktails, sipping a fine whiskey on the rocks, trying a great new rye, or supporting a very good craft distillery, Koval Single Barrel Rye is worth the money. My grade: B-. Price: $40-45/750ml. The only complaint that I can really find with this whiskey is the disparity between the age and the price, but this is certainly a quality rye that cuts through the gimmicks of the craft whiskey world with a solid 100% rye.
Happy New Year from Bargain Bourbon!