Drink Your Oats

Unusual aged whiskey from Koval Distillery

Oatmeal isn't the first thing you think of when you hear the word "booze."

But Koval has always liked to do things a bit differently.

The organic distillery is known for single-grain spirits whose complexity annihilates the clear grain spirit mold. And now they're focusing on brown spirits with four new aged whiskeys, called Lion's Pride.

For the last six to 12 months, they've aged their 100 percent oat and 100 percent rye spirits in American oak barrels, some with a light char, some with dark.

The Light Oat whiskey takes on a pale tawny hue, with a bright, smooth caramel-and-vanilla flavor that inspires straight sipping. The Dark Oat is less nuanced, with deeper caramel and charred oak notes. Light Rye is spicier and hotter; the dark is caramely, round and bourbon-like.

We're partial to the nuanced, lighter whiskeys, a style common in Germany, Austria and France but rarely seen in the U.S. And we're excited for Koval's next barrel experiments: The rest of the grain spirits (millet, spelt and wheat) are in the midst of the aging process, to be released in the next few months. Fruit for apple brandy arrived this week, and their Calvados-like barrel-aged apple brandy will be ready midwinter.

But first, taste the aged whiskeys at a free launch party this Saturday, November 6, at Delilah's (7 to 9 p.m.)–and find them (starting Saturday; $50) at In Fine Spirits, Binny's and most shops where Koval white whiskeys are sold.