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New Riff Bourbon Review

In Bourbon Whiskey Reviews by Curt McAdams4 Comments

New Riff Distilling’s core Bourbon expression is a genuinely high-rye, full bodied whiskey offering savory, spicy character. New Riff Distilling
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  • DISTILLER: New Riff Distilling
  • MASH BILL: 65% Corn  30% Rye  5% Malted Barley  |  All Non-GMO
  • AGE: At least 4 years (in this case, 4 years since it was just released)
  • YEAR: Distilled 2014, bottled 2018 (as stated on the seal)
  • PROOF: 100 (50% ABV)  |  Bottled In Bond  |  Non-Chill Filtered
  • MSRP: $38.99
  • BUY ONLINE: Limited availability at the distillery

NOSEButterscotch | Brown Sugar | Cinnamon | Oak | Dark Fruit

TASTE: Cinnamon | Caramel | Spice from rye | Vanilla | Dry citrus

FINISH: Neat, there’s an acidic element with a sharpness from the whiskey being young. It’s not at all unpleasant, though. Pepper and sweet caramel come through at the end, and the finish is medium and shows the rye in the recipe. Adding water, the pepper gets muted but is still there, and the finish actually seems longer, though it’s probably just that the contrast is lessened between the pepper and sweetness. At the very end, the spice lingers.

SHARE WITH: Anyone that wants to try a newly released bourbon. Neat, it’s a bit too sharp for new bourbon drinkers, but adding water calms it down nicely for anyone to enjoy.

WORTH THE PRICEAt $38.99, it’s more expensive than others that are 4-year-old bourbons, but it’s a higher quality than many that are available. .

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bottle if you like high rye bourbons. With it being a new bourbon (I got mine at the distillery as it wasn’t available at retail locations yet), it’s inexpensive enough to buy a bottle to have a brand new bourbon. it’s good enough to use in cocktails with the high rye content, and pleasant enough to sip with a touch of water.

OVERALL: New Riff put out an MGP bourbon for a while called OKI, which was aged from 8-12 years, and it was really good. Their own product at 4 years shows a lot of promise as it ages. I’m looking forward to it when it’s 8 years old or older. The distillery is committed to doing things with quality, and I’m also looking forward to their rye (to be released in the fall).

The color is a bit deeper than most 4-year-old bourbons, whether that’s due to it no chill filtration being used, and the bourbon opened up more as it breathed (which is kind of a snobby way of saying I was busy doing stuff, and forgot it was sitting there for a while, then tried it more after I saw it sitting there waiting for me to finish it).

One word of caution: don’t add too much water too quickly! Too much pushes the rye down, and the bourbon becomes cotton candy sweet and loses the spice needed to balance it. Try adding water a bit at a time and letting the bourbon rest for a few minutes before trying it.

Learn more about Curt’s whiskey preferences and check out more of his reviews…

About the Author
Curt McAdams

Curt McAdams

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Curt has a love for things that taste good, starting in barbecue competitions, then moving to teaching cooking classes, writing a food blog and writing for national grilling-related companies, and, currently, as a regular on a local news show in SW Ohio doing food segments (for which he’s become known for his use of bourbon in food). In fact, when interviewed about his top five cooking ingredients, bourbon was included in that list. Curt’s love of whisky goes back years, but, more recently, his wife encouraged him to have more than one partially filled bottle of Lagavulin by buying an Ardbeg for him for Christmas, then letting him add more and more to his collection. Now amassing a pretty nice little group of Scotch, bourbon, and ryes (and a few other whiskeys here and there), Curt enjoys his whiskey mostly with nothing but a couple drops of water (but is fine with a whiskey cocktail now and then, too). Curt’s feeling is that you don’t have to like the same whisky he likes, but he hopes you enjoy yours as much as he’s enjoying whichever is currently in his glass.


  1. Avatar

    curt,where is the distillery at?i will be down in kentucky next week and i would like to pick up a couple of bottles.thanks much,dave jasinsky

  2. Curt McAdams

    Dave, it’s basically in Greater Cincinnati, right along the Ohio River in Bellevue. It’s in the same parking lot as the Party Source, though, which is, I’m told, the largest single-site liquor store in the country.

    Bottles are supposed to be showing up in some stores by now, too.

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