KOVAL - from their website:
White whiskey is in many ways a bridge between vodka and aged whiskey. While domestic vodka can carry only a hint of its origin (a mere 4% flavor by law), our aromatic white whiskeys are imbued with the distinct flavors of the grains from which they are distilled. They can be mixed to the benefit of a cocktail, adding more depth, or enjoyed simple and straight.
Koval Organic Whiskey is a single-grain, single-barrel whiskey handcrafted in Chicago. This whiskey contains only the pure heart cut distillate of our single-grain white whiskeys, aged in new American Oak barrels from The Barrel Mill in Minnesota. The wood for each barrel is carefully selected for the fineness of its grain and its tannin content, then examined before and after being cut by a highly skilled cooper. (We only use our barrels once. As we bottle, barrels are available for sale throughout the year. Please contact us for more information on purchasing a used barrel.)
From mashing to distilling to aging, we do not outsource any step of the process or purchase whiskey base. We also source our grains from the Midwest, controlling the entire process from grain to bottle – how craft spirits should be made. KOVAL whiskey is non chill-filtered with no artificial coloring and, like all our spirits, certified organic and kosher. We distill five single-grain whiskeys, both light and dark, aged for one to two years.
The limited edition light expressions are aged in a European style, in barrels with a light toast, that allows the distillate to shine; the dark expressions are aged in an American style, in barrels with more charring that actually ages the whiskey faster and tends to be more robust. Neither is better than the other. It is simply a matter of taste.
Established in 2008, Koval is the first craft distillery within Chicago's city limits since Prohibition. We source all of our grains, fruits, herbs, and flowers from the surrounding Midwest region, and we make all of our spirits in house, entirely from scratch - from mashing to distilling, bottling to boxing.
Our founders, Robert and Sonat Birnecker, gave up academic careers to bring the distilling traditions of Robert's Austrian grandfather to America. They vowed to create a sustainable family business with high quality and organic products. Koval features small batch spirits distilled from 100% organic grain, avoiding the common industry practice of purchasing pre-made neutral grain spirit. Everything we make is certified organic and kosher, and we are darn proud of it.
We started with five single-grain white whiskeys: Rye, Oat, Wheat, Millet, and Spelt. In 2010, we debuted our aged whiskey, Lion's Pride, aged in two distinct styles. No artificial coloring, no chill filtering - only the pure heart cut of the distillate with beautiful amber hues from nothing but the barrel and time. Our lineup also includes several brandies and six liqueurs: Chrysanthemum Honey, Coffee, Ginger, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, and Rose Hip.
The name Koval is Yiddish for "blacksmith," but the word also refers to a "black sheep" or someone who does something unexpected or out of the ordinary. Sonat's great-grandfather earned Koval as his nickname when, at the ripe old age of 17, he surprised his family and emigrated from Vienna to Chicago in the early 1900s. Coincidentally, the surname of Robert's grandfather (at whose side Robert learned the art of distilling) is Schmid - German for "smith." Sonat and Robert chose the name Koval to honor both men - and to reflect their own extraordinary decision to give up comfortable jobs in DC, relocate to Chicago, and build a family business from the ground up.
Koval distills with a custom-built potstill handcrafted in Germany by Kothe Destillationstechnik. Kothe specially engineers each still with solid quality and energy-saving components that meet the particular needs of each distiller. Our potstill, specifically made for the production of whiskey and brandy, has an elongated whiskey helmet, a special distillation column and a unique bubblecap construction that provides greater surface area for the spirits to develop aroma and flavor. The smooth, unhammered copper potstill - combined with the dedication and savoir faire of our distillers - guarantees high quality and aromatic distillates.
*One of the 100 Best Distilleries to Visit in the World - Whisky Magazine*
2012 Best Local Distillery - Chicago Reader
2012 Best Local Spirit (Lion's Pride Whiskey) - Chicago Reader
2011 Good Eating Award from the Chicago Tribune
2011 Best of Green Award from Treehugger - Best Distillery
Rose Hip Liqueur - 2012 SIP Awards
Lion's Pride 47th Ward - 2012 International Whisky Competition
Lion's Pride 47th Ward - 2011 ADI
Koval Rose Hip Liqueur - 2011 ADI
Koval American Oat - 2011 ADI
Koval Rye Chicago - 2010 ADI
Koval Rye Chicago - 2010 Destillata
Koval American Oat Organic - 2012 International Whisky Competition
Koval American Oat - 2010 Destillata
Koval Ginger Liqueur - Beverage Tasting Institute (89)
Koval Chrysanthemum Honey Liqueur - Beverage Tasting Institute (89)
Koval Rose Hip Liqueur - Beverage Tasting Institute (88)
Koval Pear Brandy - Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition
Koval Rye Chicago Organic - 2012 International Whisky Competition
Lion's Pride Dark Millet - 2011 ADI
Koval Chrysanthemum Honey Liqueur - 2010 Destillata
Koval Ginger Liqueur - 2010 Destillata
Koval Midwest Wheat - 2010 Destillata
Koval Raksi Millet - 2010 Destillata