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This is how it’s “Spelt” | Blog #87

G’day everyone,

As promised last week I am reviewing a very unique whiskey offering. Distilled at the KOVAL distillery in Chicago. This Organic Spelt Whiskey really intrigued me on my recent visit to KOVAL and being a rare and discontinued bottling meant that I just had to have a bottle.

Spelt has become more popular amongst organic farmers in recent times as it takes less fertilizing however it is also mis-labeled at times as gluten free which it is most certainly not.

I had a choice of either the Toasted or Charred version of this Whisky and went with Toasted as the lighter flavor and delicate nature of this whiskey was overtaken a bit by the heavy char.

KOVAL Single Barrel Whiskey – Toasted Barrel Limited edition – Spelt 40% ABV – Tasted in a Jewbilee Festival tasting glass that is like a slightly smaller cut off Glencairn glass. The top is almost the same with a slightly smaller diameter and instead of the mushroom stem it is flat on the bottom like a tumbler. Great for such a gentle whiskey.

Colour:     Oak Aged Chardonnay in appearance getting lighter towards the edges of the glass.

Nose:     A lumber yard fresh wood shaving pile, a little wheat like but going in a completely different direction with persistent nosing. Baked poached pears drizzled with melted light honey.

Palate:     So soft and light this might be the most delicate American whiskey I have ever tried. Seductively smooth and barely causing a ripple as it flows softly over the palate leaving behind floral notes of Spring blossoms.

Finish:     A sweet pepper note grows over time with freshly baked scone complete with subtle apricot jam and cream. Right at the end and after a couple of sips at it I suddenly was hit with something that really took me back to my childhood. Sweetened Condensed Milk was a staple on my dummy (pacifier). Mum and dad must have known what they were doing because it shut me up every time. Still a flavor that brings warm comforting feelings.

After tasting an array of KOVAL organic whiskey’s this was my favorite and with availability restricted to the distillery itself I’m glad that I was able to get a bottle.

If you are ever in Chicago I would highly recommend a visit to KOVAL. They are what micro-distilling is all about. Great job guys on thinking outside of the box with a lot of your unique offerings.

KOVAL are available in Canada with their Rye, Millet and Bourbon. No doubt you will have to hunt through select boutique whiskey stores to find a bottle. If you do it will be worth the effort.

That’s two really interesting and amazing whiskies in two weeks. The American distilling scene is really cranking out some brain twisting bottles right now. Boy it’s a great time to be a whiskey/y fan.

The countdown is now on until we start into our 25 days of the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar blog. Those of you that have yet to secure your calendar there are still plenty available and you can find retail locations on our website at www.secretspirits.com

I hope you will join in as we countdown to Christmas with the daily dram.

Until then keep on the whiskey/y trail


Jewbilee | Blog # 85

Off to the Windy City (Chicago) for my first ever whisky Jewbilee as a guest of the Jewish Whisky Club, Jason, Joshua and Seth.

One of the fun opportunities in putting together the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar this year was the inclusion of a whisky from these guys and to help launch the Single Cask Nation club in Canada.

Spending 3 days in Chicago is always an exciting prospect. When you add a whisky event like Jewbilee and a chance to spend time with some really quality guys that just love to get their whisky geek on well lets just say that I have been looking forward to this trip for a long time.

Chicago put on an amazing day of fall weather for our arrival and Cindy and I took full advantage wandering the length of Michigan Avenue and taking in the sights.

No trip to Chicago is complete without some Italian and our dinner experience at Volare was awesome. Despite the restaurant being packed we were treated with personal care and seated as fast as humanly possible. Creamy chicken risotto along with fresh pasta topped with black truffle really made the wait worth it. An extensive Italian wine list gave us plenty of yummy options and even after a bottle was unfortunately corked, a fresh glass of Barbaresco was quickly delivered with a touch more added for good measure.

Rounding off the whole amazing evening was in house Limoncello. Thanks Volare for such a great evening. A leisurely walk back to the hotel and whisky dreams of the coming Jewbilee.

Started 3 years ago in New York Jewbilee has grown from 150 to a maximum cap of 450. The Chicago version was the inaugural event and the 4th Jewbilee. Every event warrants it’s own bottling that is only available to Single Cask Nation members and those attending the festival. I promise a review of this extremely rare whisky in the coming weeks.

On show at the Chicago Jewbilee was an array of whiskies from all over the world. Small local producers like Koval had some mind blowing whiskies on offer, how many of you out there have had 100% Millet whiskey? I spent a lot of time at the Koval table.

Keeping the number of consumers to a reasonable limit meant that everyone was able to have great conversation with each table and really delve into the story behind the whiskey/y.

Being careful to sip and dump, Cindy and I were able to get around and try a large array of delicious drops. The other most notable table was manned by Jason with a host of Single Cask nation bottlings. We are very excited that the Nation has officially come to Canada (Alberta). Everyone buying or receiving the 2nd Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar will not only taste their first Single Cask Nation Whisky but also find all the details they need to become part of this exclusive club.

While Jason was working hard pouring all things Nation for the Jewbilee whisky goers Joshua was wandering the aisles shmoozing and making sure that everyone was having a great time.

Salvage One was a really interesting venue loaded with amazing items from times past. It set such a great backdrop for the event and will no doubt be the regular venue for years to come.

Get ready Canada because the Nation is coming. The first whisky has already landed and will be available to the first new members soon. In Edmonton the ambassador store is Unwined that has two locations, downtown and St Albert. In Calgary the ambassador store is Point McKay Wines and Spirits.

Head on over to Single Cask Nation to check out all the goodies and send off an email to Jason and Joshua at info@singlecasknation.com to get full details on the Canadian memberships.

Next week as promised the Jewbilee bottling will be tasted and dissected. I know this is a teaser as you will not be able to get a bottle unless you a) join the Nation and then b) head to the US and arrange to get one from Jason or Joshua.

Our evil plan is to eventually have a Canadian Jewbilee in Alberta which would be more fun than you could throw a kippah at.