From a word meaning Blacksmith, Koval Distillery has been making spirits since 2008. Though perhaps best known for their whiskeys, their Koval Dry Gin too is organic and grain-to-glass (and certified Kosher too). Embracing “woodland spices,” conceptually it may not call to mind Chicago, nor Illinois; however, the care, the process and handsome bottle design suggest that well executed concepts can be of anywhere and still be a winner.
At first whiff, you certainly might think of open fields and meadows in blossom. It’s warming and suggestively floral, with plenty of green juniper accompanied by rose, lavender, and vanilla notes.
The palate is creamy and rich, with juniper bringing some fresh pine and resinous notes, the florals really take blossom on the palate. Lavender chiefly, with a creamy, almost suggestive of Bison Grass vanilla/buttery note, there’s fresh spice notes on the finish, Koval Dry Gin warms the back of the palate with hints of peppercorn and bitter orange zests.
The finish is medium length and quite warm. Piney and dry, it’s satisfying and classic at the end. The spirit itself has a lovely, rich mouthfeel. It’s thick and viscous, giving it some real gravitas both on its own and mixed.
I certainly find a lot to like about Koval Dry Gin, and cocktails deliver as expected. I like the way that the bitter notes of a good Dry Vermouth elevate this gin in a Martini, but my favorite might be served over ice accompanied with a nice tonic water. This is a great Gin and Tonic, where you get some contemporary flourished complemented with a lovely juniper led base. I think it mixes well, while the floral notes are nicely highlighted in an Aviation or Army Navy Cocktail, for my money Koval Dry Gin is best served simply and allowed to shine.
I’m not sure I often think of woodland and wildflowers when I think of Chicago, but perhaps Koval is telling me I should change my mind. Recommended.