Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Made With Malted Oat + Chocolate Malt
Bottled In Bond
New Riff Winter Whiskey is a new seasonal release. It is described as “… a Bourbon with the unique spice of raw and malted oats, backed by roasted cocoa notes of chocolate malt”.
This bourbon has a very interesting mash bill:
20% malted oats
7% pale ale malt
5% steel cut raw oats
3% chocolate malt
Pale ale malt and chocolate malt are more commonly used in brewing than distilling. Their names refer to their colors, which is in turn related to their degree of roasting. Chocolate malt contains no chocolate, only malted barley, but its color is reminiscent of chocolate and is where it gets its name. There are different varieties of chocolate malt which vary in their degree of roasting, and therefore their color and flavor. The flavor can range from cocoa to bittersweet chocolate, as well as coffee. When combined with sweetness, there can be a milk chocolate or milkshake like flavor. In higher quantities the heavier roasted malt can also add bitterness.
Let’s taste it:
🛏 Rested for 20 minutes in a Glencairn
👉🏻Nose: Alcohol smell but very mild burn, vanilla, light milk chocolate, and an unusual graininess (maybe oat flakes?) & a cherry bubblegum fruity sweetness
👉🏻Taste: Chocolate, sugar sweetness and some grainy dryness. Medium bodied.
👉🏻Finish: Chocolate continues and roasted malt flavor comes forward blending into a chocolate malt milkshake taste that lingers, with dryness and some char at the very end. Long finish.
A few drops of water bring more vanilla and chocolate out in the nose, and make the flavors a bit more chocolate dominant with less dryness.
New Riff Winter Whiskey is an interesting one. My first thoughts are reminiscent of the Woodford Reserve Chocolate Malted Rye Bourbon, but this is different. If memory serves me, that one had flavors more reminiscent of the flavor of the raw chocolate malt itself. This one has some of that flavor, but also sweetness, body and creaminess, which I assume comes from the oats. It is completely different from bourbon made with a more traditional mash bill. I like it, but for me this is more of an occasional drink, maybe by the fire on a cold evening, rather than a daily drinker.
Have you had this bourbon? What did you think? Cheers!🥃
Want to read about another bourbon made with chocolate malt? Check out our review of the Woodford Chocolate Malted Rye!