As I mentioned in a previous post, I have an affinity for apple brandy. Thing is, it’s not something I often drink, but it is a spirit I always love to try and have on hand. Whether you call it applejack, apple brandy, or calvados, I’ve got a soft spot for it.
Which is why I was excited to find out, on a tour of their distillery in February, that Koval was releasing an apple brandy aged in used whiskey barrels. And this past week, said brandy was bottled and put on the shelves at Koval’s store.
After a few tastings throughout the weekend, I can unequivocally state that the spirit surprised me. I’m used to apple brandies that bite, whether they’re well-aged or young. This one was far more mellow.
It’s great on the nose: a nice waft of apple, perhaps a hint of bananas & oatmeal. The first sip tells me right away that I’ve got a Koval spirit in my glass — excluding their liqueurs, the distillery’s offerings have a consistent profile and mouthfeel.
The soft fruitiness of the apples shines through this light golden liquor, a taste more akin to applesauce than tart cider. This is rounded out with a little bit of soft cereal grain (oat? wheat?), and tiny hints of vanilla and cinnamon. (But that last note might also be my palate associating this beverage with the flavor profile of homemade apple cinnamon oatmeal.)
Overall, this isn’t a complex libation (as compared to an aged calvados or to Koval’s bierbrand), but it is rather tasty in its own simple and easygoing way. I don’t foresee myself using it in cocktails, but it’s perfect for sipping during a spring or fall day.
A laid-back brandy may not be for everyone’s snifter, but I find it a nice addition to Koval’s selection. The only drawback is that, since it comes in a 375ml bottle, this easy-to-sip spirit just as easily disappears from the bottle.