This whiskey is made from 100% millet grain, distilled in Chicago at Koval, a high-tech craft distillery which was established in 2008 run by a married couple. All of their whiskey is organic, and matured in 30 gallon barrels (about half the size of standard 53 gallon bourbon barrels). Rather than just re-iterating what is on their website, you can check out their information here. This whiskey is aged less than 2 years in new oak, but, because of the small barrel, the wood to spirit ratio is higher and it ages faster than a similar whiskey in a large barrel. My bottle is from barrel 298.
Nose: Well, this one is a bit different. Charred, ashy oak, stewed fruits, prunes, light vanilla, banana laffy-taffy, anise, and creamy coconut. It has a bit of a herbal character to it as well – but the dominant flavour for me is the smoky char. There’s also a spicy feel to it as well, though I can’t pin down the spices specifically. 25/30 (83%)
Taste: Caramel, and fresh charred oak, along with some sharp, spicy and ashy notes. There’s a good grainy note to it as well – millet, I suppose? (I’ve only had it once – and I don’t remember what it tasted like). We have banana cream pie amidst the grainy structure and spicy edge – I think it’s quite well done. 25.5/30 (85%)
Finish: More ash, light herbal and creamy notes as well. Still we have some light creamy notes – banana, vanilla, caramel, and coconut as well as some clove. It’s a bit drying with a little bit of a spicy feel. 16.5/20 (83%)
Conclusion: Interesting all of the ashy notes – I am not familiar enough with millet to know if they could originate from that or whether it’s just from the barrel. Though I don’t find it particularly complex, it is very easy to drink and enjoyable, and well balanced. This seriously makes me wonder why we don’t see more millet whiskies out there – even if not as the main grain, all the flavour the grain packs in this whiskey makes me think it’d also be a fantastic blending grain. A bit pricy, but definitely a worthwhile experience if you are able. 16.5/20 (88%)