“We think of it as a malt whiskey first and a rye whiskey second, which raised the question: what would happen if we treated it like other malt whiskies and aged it in sherry casks?”
JIM'S DESERT ISLAND WHISKEYS
New Riff Sherry Finished Malted Rye WhiskeyBOTTLE DETAILS
- DISTILLER: New Riff Distilling
- MASH BILL: 100% malted rye
- AGE: 6 years
- YEAR: 2022
- PROOF: 112.7 (66.35% ABV)
- MSRP: $64.99
SHARE WITH: Any whiskey fan, especially fans of rye and sherry cask finishes.
WORTH THE PRICE: Yes
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bottle.
OVERALL: The success of New Riff’s 5-year Malted Rye release in 2021 gave its team an idea: Finish this vibrant whiskey in 12, custom-made 53-gallon oloroso and Pedro Ximenez casks for a year, then vat the whiskey from each for another six months. The result is a bright and busy whiskey whose all-rye mashbill gives it loads of grain character made even more delicious by those secondary cask influences.
On the nose is an explosion of rye spice, a pour that practically climbs out of the glass and attacks the nose in a good way—as only a cask strength can. If you have a Glencairn Mixer glass or a NEAT glass, use that instead of a tightly focused nosing glass. Pour the whiskey, walk away for a few minutes and let some volatile ethanol leave the glass. When you return, the aromas will be tamed and delightful: cinnamon, golden raisin, dried strawberry, butter cookie, oak, dried rye grain and anise. Eventually dank wood and warmed honey emerge.
To the palate comes lemon curd, cooked fruit, figs, Nutella and toasted bread. If you’re getting the idea that this would make a terrific dessert whiskey—for its complexity, not its sweetness—you’re right.
New Riff Releases Malted Rye Whiskey Finished in Sherry CasksBreakthrough Brand Blended by Barrell Craft Spirits Embraces the Vitality
of American Whiskey to Create the Next Generation of Classic Whiskeys
New Riff Distilling announced the release of a limited-edition Sherry Finished Malted Rye Whiskey, bottled at barrel strength without chill filtration and secondarily aged in oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. Available in May, the release builds on the distillery’s exploration of malted rye whiskey. For more information, visit www.newriffdistilling.com.
“Last year we released our Malted Rye Whiskey, and experiencing its remarkably elegant, sophisticated character gave us another idea,” said co-founder Jay Erisman. “We think of it as a malt whiskey first and a rye whiskey second, which raised the question: what would happen if we treated it like other malt whiskies and aged it in sherry casks?”
New Riff’s first batches of 100% Malted Rye Whiskey were distilled in 2014, and the initial release landed in May 2021. For this sherry finished elaboration, New Riff imported custom-made 53-gallon Spanish sherry casks and filled them with 5-year-old New Riff Malted Rye Whiskey. Twelve oloroso and three Pedro Ximenez casks were filled with whiskey and aged another year, before being vatted in the fall of 2021 and left to marry and condition together for several following months until they were bottled in spring of 2022.
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Bottled straight from the barrel at 112.7 proof, the Sherry Finished Malted Rye Whiskey has a buttery, sherry oak nose with notes of walnut and a hint of vanilla. The broad, savory character fills the mouth with flavors of sappy sherry coupled with malty grain, followed with a late bursting finish of brightening spices such as clove and wood spice with multicolored fruit skin.
New Riff Sherry Finished Malted Rye Whiskey is made with 100% malted rye grain and is aged six years with a suggested retail price of $64.99. It is available in limited quantity throughout portions of New Riff’s distribution footprint and through New Riff’s Whiskey Club.
Steve Coomes is editor of BourbonBanter.com. A Louisville restaurant industry veteran turned award-winning food writer, he has edited and written for dozens of national trade and consumer publications including Pizza Today, Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living over his 31-year journalism career. As a spirits writer, Steve's work can be found in Bourbon Plus, Bourbon Review, Bourbon & Banter, WhiskeyWash.com and other publications. In 2014, he authored the book, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and has authored other titles as a private ghostwriter.
Read Steve's full profile.