The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2014

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90  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2014 NORTH AMERICAN WHISKEY T he chant "Buy American" can now be heard in bars and cocktail lounges around the globe. In response, master distillers from Kentucky and Pennsylvania to Ontario and Tennessee are releasing the epitome of their crafts. They've cracked open hand-selected bar- rels and bottled their best. As it turns out, their best is world-class. North American whiskies possess vivacious personalities that are universally appealing; yet by nature, our whiskies are understated, preferring rather to saunter through life without pretense or conceit. Even as they ascend toward stardom, our whiskies remain accessible to all palates and priced for all budgets. Whiskey enthusiasts are beating a path to our shores. The following hot new North American whiskies provide the reasons why. Cheers! A Global Phenomenon A LOOK INTO THE CONTINENT'S MOST PROMISING WHISKIES by Robert Plotkin PHOTO: DUSTIN DOWNING KOVAL SINGLE BARREL BOURBON WHISKEY Established in 2008, KOVAL is Chicago's first distillery since the mid-1800s and is the brainchild of internationally renowned master distiller Dr. Robert Birnecker. The Austrian native is one of America's leading experts on distillation and has taught or consulted with a third of all craft distillers who've opened distilleries in the past five years. Dr. Birnecker's mastery of the still is evident in the KOVAL Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey. While made with the requisite mash bill of 51 percent corn, the minor grain used is rather unusual: millet. The corn and millet combination produces a fascinating whiskey with loads of fruit flavors on the palate and cloves, pepper and caramel on the finish. The organic, unfiltered whiskey is quite unlike any other bourbon. "We are trying to produce a more approachable whiskey," says Birnecker, CEO and Master Distiller, KOVAL Distillery. "Using only the 'heart cut' of the distillate, we achieve a very soft and smooth distillate right off the still," he explains. Regardless of what may ail you, our advice is to consult with the good doctor. KOVAL INC.

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