Whisky Connosr
Shop Join

Koval Rye Whiskey

Average score from 3 reviews and 3 ratings 84

Koval Rye Whiskey

Product details

Shop for this

What next?

  • Add to cabinet
  • Add to wish list
Koval Rye Whiskey

The Koval Distillery, founded in Chicago in 2008 by a couple with Austrian roots, cals itself an organic distillery as al their grain comes from Midwest farms and is 100% biological. Everything from grain to bottle happens in one place. Next to other spirits like vodka, gin and brandy, they also have a couple of whiskies out there. This is their Rye, consisting of 100% organic rye.

I get quite a bit of wood on the nose, both wood shavings and freshly sawn planks. Also something that reminds me of the peel of peanuts. A lot of nutmeg and a bit of cinnamon take the lead, leaving only a little room for fruity notes. I slowly get some sweetness as if from a pastry.

It is a touch watery, Iā€™m afraid. Whole grain bread, orange marmalade and a hint of curry powder give it something special. Maple syrup keeps it sweet.

In the finish ā€“ which is rather short ā€“ the oak and accompanying spices kick in once more.

Not bad at all, but it does not come close to the bourbon.


Right from the start I started thinking of the movie "Planes, Trains & Automobiles". Because the movie and this rye whisky from Koval were both very entertaining and took place in Chicago. And like the Steve Martin's character in the movie, I also wanted the next flight to Chicago. Just to see what Koval distillery was doing back there!

I got a chance to sample Koval Single Barrel Organic Rye Whiskey and Koval White Rye Whiskey. And both are true benchmark products for artisanry. White Rye is closer to the average, yet very funky and progressive. This Single Barrel Rye is great. Surprisingly smooth for a "NAS" and new oak whisky.

Very fresh, offering a versatile rye dram. Rich palate, like a crossover rye whisky and bourbon. So get me planes, trains or automobiles, anything to take me to Koval distillery in Chicago!

Nose: Combo of bourbon and rye. Full of fresh fruits, hints of pear and cinnamon apples dominating. Some plain apples too and fresh grains.

Taste: The feel of bourbon is present. Rye is there but it comes much stronger in the finish. Sweet with fruits and rye. Fruits aren't as powerful as in the nose. Don't add water, ruins it a bit while making it very peppery.

Finish: Bitter notes, fresh rye. Spices really kick in the aftertaste.

Balance: Very exciting dram. Koval Single Barrel Rye is smooth and fresh, light, yet characteristic.

Thanks for a very interesting review, @Rantavahti. I haven't tasted this one yet. I look forward to it and enjoy the Koval products which I have had.

Well, I tend to get excited when the conversation turns to whiskeys made from rye grain. Here goes:

When people say, "this is like bourbon" they usually mean that they are tasting the new oak flavours prominently. They may much less frequently also mean that it has the thick full body typical of bourbon because of the corn content.

Since 95% of bourbons are made with rye grain, and consist mostly of an interplay of new oak and rye flavours, the distinction between bourbons and US straight rye whiskies is really just noting points on a continuum based on the AMOUNT of rye grain present. US straight rye whiskey requires 51% minimum rye content, and most of them have just a little over that rye content. Most bourbons have between 8 and 30% rye content, with typical rye content being around 15%. Some, like the Four Roses "OB" mashbills have 35% rye. Breckenridge Bourbon supposedly has 38% rye content, which is the highest of which I am aware.

While it is easy to me to taste the increased rye in the higher rye content bourbons (e.g. Old Grand-Dad at around 28% rye, or Bulleit Bourbon, which is a Four Roses bourbon also near 28% rye content) compared to say, Buffalo Trace bourbon, at around 8% rye, the balance is such that US straight rye whiskies still usually show the sharpness of that grain with a very noticeable much sharper emphasis compared to any of these bourbons. Rye does take over in US straight rye whiskeys, while operating in more of a balancing role in bourbon. Breckenridge, though, is so high in the rye content, as to be ALMOST like a straight rye.

But, when the chips are down, if you talk about "mixing" "combining" or "balancing" a bourbon and a rye together, what you wind up with is always still EITHER a bourbon or a rye.

Always nice to get your comments and info @Victor feel free to comment on my blog too :)


With this Koval, FRESH is definitely the keyword, probably the most fresh whisky I've ever tasted. I don't have much experience on US whiskey but based on these 2 samples, I'm willing to say Koval is the Bruichladdich of USA :)

And about that bourbony thing (mostly) on the nose and in the taste, I'd have to say it was only feeling I got. Rye is definitely the major factor here, along with fruity notes.


Rye whisky has really grabbed my attention lately, so I was excited to get samples from the Koval range: I tasted their Single Barrel Organic Rye Whiskey and White Rye Whiskey. Both are fresh and innovative drams, White Rye being very experimental.

Koval White Rye didn't feel good at all at first. I was ready to give it a 70 point score. Scents more like solvents...but after some time, while resting in the glass, it turned into a very progressive whisky. Not a great dram, but very okay and funky. Very much like gin. A crossbreed of gin and whisky.

Like a remake of some good and old recipe. The new version of "The Great Gatsby" came to my mind. F. Scott Fitzgerald was a fan of gin, especially Gin Rickey, which is also mentioned in "The Great Gatsby". I have to say, I really did like to take my Koval White Rye with "long, greedy swallows."

Nose: Stingy solvent kind of aromas at first, very fermented. Let it rest in the glass: smooths very much, like gin, juniper berries dominate!

Taste: Sour, the feel of juniper is still there. Gin influences very much at first but if you really chew it, the rye steps in. Fresh and grainy. Adding water makes the rye sweeter and fresher and salt and pepper come out. Feels like the edge of a Mojito glass!

Finish: Notes of gin and juniper berries are strong. And the feel of spirit. Water makes it too smooth but freshens the aftertaste nicely and makes it more dry.

Balance: Funky dram, like listening some progressive rock or metal. Tricky but I like it!

Here's my review of the Koval Single Barrel Rye Whiskey, which was great!


Popular Koval whiskies