Bourbon Breakdown: New Riff Bourbon

September 19, 2021

Most upstart whiskey distilleries will either release their first whiskey when it’s very young or will blend their own young juice with older, sourced whiskeys. This is often due to two things a new craft distiller doesn’t often have a lot of: time and money. So you can understand the surprise (and relief) when Kentucky whiskey newcomer New Riff Distilling opted to not only wait four years to release its first whiskey, but to also release it as a bottled-in-bond bourbon. Oh, and they didn’t use the common craft-sized 15- or 30-gallon barrels either. They used full-sized American standard barrels. Now that’s how you make a grand entrance!

Founded in 2014 by Ken Lewis, a Kentucky retailer and entrepreneur, New Riff Distilling is located in Newport, KY which is part of the greater Cincinnati metropolitan area. It is a 100% independently and family-owned distillery. In addition to their core bourbon and rye whiskeys, New Riff has released limited edition “riffs” where the brand can show off their experimental side. And perhaps not so unusual for a craft distiller, they have a couple of gins on offer as well.

As this is a bourbon breakdown series, we’ll go over the core New Riff Bourbon bottlings as well as a couple of their limited edition bourbons. Read on to find out more about the brand and see which one should become your next purchase.

New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon Bottled-in-Bond

Released in 2018, this is the brand’s first bourbon made after the distillery opened in 2014.

What to Know:

The brand uses 30% rye in its bourbon mash bill recipe. In addition to its bottled-in-bond status, the brand also bottled it without chill-filtration.

What Our Experts Think It Tastes Like:

Classic vanilla notes with an assertive dose of spice, hints of leather and a mild medicinal note.

SRP: $39.99
Avg US Price: $43
ABV: 50%
Community Rating: 3.73 out of 5 stars (758 Ratings)

New Riff Bourbon: New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon Bottled in BondNew Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon Bottled in Bond /Photo Credit: New Riff

New Riff Single Barrel Barrel Proof

The brand offers single barrels to retailers and bars to select and purchase the entire barrel for bottling.

What to Know:

Unlike the brand’s flagship bottling, this is not a bottled-in-bond release. However, it is still at least 4 years old. It is bottled at barrel proof without chill filtration.

What Our Experts Think It Tastes Like:

Bursting with spice, vanilla, and candied orange peel; ample character to stand out in cocktails;

SRP: $49.99
Avg US Price: $53
ABV: varies
Community Rating: 3.86 out of 5 stars (956 Ratings)

New Riff Bourbon: New Riff Single Barrel Barrel ProofNew Riff Single Barrel Barrel Proof /Photo Credit: New Riff

New Riff Winter Whiskey

This limited edition bourbon was released in 2020 and features malted oats and chocolate malt in its mash bill recipe.

What to Know:

It’s a bottled-in-bond release and is bottled without chill-filtration at 100 proof.

What Our Experts Think It Tastes Like:

The oats tame the sweetness of the corn while the chocolate malt enhances, but doesn’t overwhelm the bourbon.

SRP: $49.99
Avg US Price: $150
ABV: 50%
Community Rating: 3.97 out of 5 stars (18 Ratings)

New Riff Bourbon: New Riff Winter WhiskeyNew Riff Winter Whiskey /Photo Credit: New Riff

New Riff Maltster Malted Wheat Bourbon

Maltster is a limited-edition bourbon which features a malted flavor grain in the mash bill.

What to Know:

In addition to corn, three varieties of wheat are used in the mash bill recipe: Bohemian floor-malted wheat, unmalted wheat and dark wheat. It is a bottled-in-bond release which is aged for 5 years without chill filtration.

What Our Experts Think It Tastes Like:

Malted milk balls, salted caramel pretzels, baking chocolate and tart blackberries.

SRP: $49.99
Avg US Price: $199
ABV: 50%
Community Rating: 4.09 out 5 stars (18 Ratings)

New Riff Bourbon: New Riff Maltster Malted Wheat BourbonNew Riff Maltster Malted Wheat Bourbon /Photo Credit: New Riff

New Riff Maltster Malted Rye Bourbon

Maltster is a limited-edition bourbon which features a malted flavor grain in the mash bill.

What to Know:

The brand uses malted rye as the flavoring grain and it consists of 35% of the mash bill recipe. It too is a bottled-in-bond release which is aged for 5 years without chill filtration.

What Our Experts Think It Tastes Like:

Maple syrup drenched pancakes with a hefty supply of rye spice; finishes with chai, barrel char and vanilla taffy.

SRP: $49.99
Avg US Price: $199
ABV: 50%
Community Rating: 3.53 out of 5 stars (14 Ratings)

New Riff Bourbon: New Riff Maltster Malted Rye BourbonNew Riff Maltster Malted Rye Bourbon /Photo Credit: New Riff


Ready to do your own New Riff Bourbon comparisons?

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