Distiller: New Riff
Spirit: Barrel Proof Non-Chill Filtered Bourbon
Aged: 4+ Years
Price: Around $50.00
About The Distillery:
We are independently owned by one family, and that independence, the freedom from outside pressures and interests has allowed us to make an unforeseen declaration for quality: for perhaps the first time since the inception of the Bottled in Bond Act in 1897, a Kentucky sour mash whiskey distillery has committed itself exclusively to that quality standard, the world’s highest. And we proudly lift that bar even higher by bottling without chill filtration. We stand behind this combination of classic American entrepreneurship and ingenuity; passion and knowledge born from one of the world’s great spirit regions; and a talented team individually committed to doing things the right way.
We are inspired by the great Bourbon makers of the past and the wider tradition in Kentucky—but we will play our own riff, on the Sour Mash Kentucky Regimen, both with our standard of Bottled in Bond Without Chill Filtration, and through applying that production regimen to wholly new styles of Kentucky whiskey. Yet we also observe the tremendous whiskey history of Greater Cincinnati, and we inhale that rye-rich backstory as well. At the end of the day, despite playing a free hand to improvise and create Kentucky whiskey anew, we uphold above all else the time-honored Sour Mash Kentucky Regimen: we believe it’s a fantastic way to make whiskey, fully the equal of the traditions of the world’s great whiskeys.
About The Bottle:
New Riff Distilling’s core Bourbon expression is a genuinely high-rye, full bodied whiskey offering savory, spicy character, bottled at Barrel Proof without Chill Filtration. Featuring a mash bill of non-GMO grains at 65% corn, 30% rye, and 5% malted barley, it represents a new riff on Kentucky’s most hallowed whiskey traditions. Aged four years in 53-gallon toasted and charred new oak barrels, there are no shortcuts taken in our production. All New Riff whiskeys are made with the full sour mash Kentucky Regimen; all carry an age statement, and are always bottled without chill filtration.
Proof Vs Heat
Notes & Review
Nose: The nose is simple and forgiving for a 105+ proof bourbon, nothing too complex for my decently experienced sniffer. My main takeaway aromas are a sweet caramel vanilla with some charred oak on the end of the whiff.
Palate: Here’s where the high rye portion of the mash bill stands out. The Rye spice rears its head here, a good mix of that earthy mineral flavor but it doesn’t leave that dirt coated feeling on your tongue that some ryes do. The vanilla softens the initial blow your taste buds receive from the boldness of the bourbon. New Riffs single barrel bourbons are 65% corn 30% rye and 5% malted barley FYI.
Finish: The finish is very smooth with a dwindling disintegration of the vanilla first reported into a smoky cherry and cinnamon that leaves a tingle on the taste buds.
Review: It may only be 4 years old, but this toddler has legs! If you give this puppy a swirl in your glass, you’ll see an alcoholic Jackson Pollock running down the sides in slow motion.
You can pretty much stick your entire nose in your glass and take a deep inhale of this bourbon without getting that typical alcohol burn you singe your nostrils with in higher proof bourbons. The nose isn’t complicated, but that definitely doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. It’s straightforward, bold and invites you in with enticing aromas of caramel melting over a piece of charred oak that had been soaked and left to dry in vanilla extract.
Your taste buds can bob and weave all they want, but they’re still going to get hit by this jab, jab, Rye-ght hook combo of flavor that’s coming for them. The palate is my favorite part of this bourbon, coming as a complete surprise from what the invitation said on the nose. I signed up for a nice, uncomplex, and smooth oaky/vanilla/caramel bourbon sip when I nosed this and got taken for a rollercoaster Rye-d (Okay, okay I promise no more rye puns after this…) Mouth-feel is exceptional for a high rye bourbon, one of my increasingly favored pours. Gives you the rye spices, heat and flavors without burning your tongue off or giving it a new coating of earthy turtle wax that some higher rye mash bills tend to do.
The finish is solid as well, breaking down those vanilla notes after the rye flavor wave into that smoked cherry and sugared cinnamon.
I would highly recommend picking this up if you happened to be browsing for some bourbon in the New England area and wanted some excellent bang for your buck at around 50$ a bottle. I break this out for the people who I know will have an appreciation for the type of bourbon I prefer or want to give an insight to new drinkers into the complex and nuanced world of tasting whiskey.