"This is an intriguing and, most importantly, delicious new American single malt whiskey, and it is truly unlike others I’ve tried. It does not fall into a few different flavor profiles that seem to dominate the field: hoppy beer-style, bourbon-esque, chocolate-forward, or sherry bomb. The palate ranges all over the place but somehow feels cohesive, with notes of sour cherry, dark chocolate, grape, vanilla, leather, and sweet pipe tobacco. That is followed ... read more
"This is an intriguing and, most importantly, delicious new American single malt whiskey, and it is truly unlike others I’ve tried. It does not fall into a few different flavor profiles that seem to dominate the field: hoppy beer-style, bourbon-esque, chocolate-forward, or sherry bomb. The palate ranges all over the place but somehow feels cohesive, with notes of sour cherry, dark chocolate, grape, vanilla, leather, and sweet pipe tobacco. That is followed by caramel, Granny Smith apple, wood chips, and a hint of lemon curd on the finish."
Nose: Broad, deep and heady, with many barrel notes (oaky, sherried oak, toasty); with time, it develops rich malty fruity grains; a splash of water advances complicated grainy detail, showing grassy-mineral malt, dark fruit cacao nibs, orange-lemon citrus, and a wisp of smoke and ozone.
Palate: Straight-up, the oak is forward and layered (oloroso sherry, red wine, brandy, new oak), chewy texture, and drying but not tannic; with water, a strikingly juicy entry, bright fruit and citrus peel; it is dryish and tinged with sweetening fruits; a BIG Kentucky-style body, savory-soft thick-cut texture with red and dark fruit, cocoa powder, grassy-nutty malt, a shading of sherry oak and a suggestion of smoke.
Finish: Exceptionally zesty, even delicate, the fruited (raspberry, tangerine rind, bergamont-orange) components lifted up in a whiskey-ozone-air and framed with the sherry-branded oak, late lemon curd and a vanishing air-kiss of peat smoke
New Riffs Sour Mash Single Malt Whiskey is a provocative new riff on the hallowed traditions of malted barley. Comprised of up to six different mashbills, and slowly matured in a multiplicity of cask types, this unprecedented whiskey welds Old World inspiration to Kentuckys sour mash technique. Distilled in our column beer still and doubler, it weaves a wealth of malty flavors into oaken age: a bold new concept in the time-honored Kentucky whiskey regimen.
The six mashbills include:
100% Maris Otter, a classic British ale malt
100% Golden Promise, a classic Scotch whisky malt
Barleywine-style, after high gravity, heavy bodied barleywine ales
Belgian quadrupel-style, in the fashion of rich, mellow Trappist ales
100% Scottish peated barley malt, heavily smoked and pungent
100% Chevallier Heirloom malted barley, an 1820s-vintage English variety
Founded in 2014 by Ken Lewis, a Kentucky liquor retailer and entrepreneur, New Riff crafts a range of whiskeys with a focus on bourbon and rye as well as Kentucky gin. Independently and family-owned, the freedom from outside pressures and interests has allowed New Riff to set meaningful standards of quality, distinguishing them amongst the ranks of Kentucky Sour Mash Whiskey distilleries. Although some of their practices are not necessarily new to the world of whiskey, it is unusual to find a distillery adhering simultaneously to so many traditional methods and with such an attention to detail. Sourcing non-GMO grains, using mineral-rich water from an aquifer below the distillery, allowing slow and open fermentation, distilling in copper only, and leaning heavily upon the strict stipulations of Bottled-in-Bond production, New Riff cuts no corners. Therefore, its no surprise that the accolades for this small distillery continue to grow.
- 750mL (liquor) size — NV(currently viewing)
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