New Riff Single Malt Review

New Riff Distilling’s Sour Mash Single Malt Whiskey, made the Kentucky way, is a full-bodied, grain-forward whiskey with complex flavors from a multitude of different malts. If you’re a fan of single malts and the American style, you’ll likely enjoy this whiskey. For all the details, read our full review!
New Riff
Sour Mash
Single Malt
Kentucky Single Malt Whiskey
113.8 Proof
Aged 7 Years
MSRP: $69.99
Review

Please enjoy our New Riff Sour Mash Single Malt Review!

New Riff Distilling

New Riff Distilling in Newport, Kentucky, has always done things a bit differently. From their early days of sourced MGP (now Ross & Squibb) bourbon under the OKI label (which they have since sold), to the current day when they are now releasing house distilled whiskeys with up to 8 year age statements, they have always been innovative. Years ago, they released their Backsetter Bourbon & Rye, which were made with an added backset of peat-smoked malted barley. Of course, that raised many questions, such as “what is New Riff Distilling doing with a backset of peat-smoked malted barley?” Well, they were very closemouthed about it at the time. However, now, we have our answer.

The First Single Malt Whiskey From New Riff

New Riff Sour Mash Single Malt Whiskey is a single malt made the Kentucky way. It uses a sour mash, is fermented in open fermenters and is distilled in a column still with a doubler. How is this “Kentucky way” different from the “Scottish way”? Well, actually, it’s quite different. Single Malt Scotch Whisky generally is made from a sweet mash and has to be distilled in pot stills. Also, Scottish Single Malts are generally distilled off the grain, whereas I am assuming that the New Riff Single Malt is made more like a bourbon, in that the entire fermented mash – both solid and liquid components – are entered into the still.

Six Mash Bills To Choose From

New Riff has 6 different Single Malt mash bills, and this whiskey is said to use five of the six. However, they leave us guessing as to which exact ones that might be. The different mash bills include (from the New Riff website):

  • 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
Tasting Notes

Let’s taste it:

🛏 Rested for 15 minutes in a Glencairn

👉🏻Nose: Fairly sweet; malted barely graininess, lightly burnt caramel, dark brown sugar & mild peat-like smoke up front; light graham cracker & subtle floral notes, like roses, towards the back; Alcohol present, but less than expected for the proof
👉🏻Taste: Sweet; noticeable malted barley; buttery caramel; tannins, molasses & light smoke
👉🏻Finish: Grain & molasses fading; growing tannins and white pepper spice; long finish; nice warmth

A Grain Forward, Full Bodied Whiskey

New Riff Single Malt is a full bodied, grain forward whiskey. It has complex flavors, presumably from the multitude of different malts that were used. There is also quite a bit of sweetness up front, with an equal amount of spice and tannins at the end. In the world of single malts, this truly has an American character. Then, there is that bit of smokiness, with a peat-like character. Since New Riff does not share with us which five of the six mash bills they have used in this single malt, nor their percentages, we can’t know for sure. However, I am betting that some of that 100% Scottish heavily smoked peated barley malt was used.

Bottle and Glencairn - New Riff Sour Mash Single Malt Review
Conclusion

If you are a fan of single malts, and the American style specifically, then New Riff Sour Mash Single Malt is a whiskey that you will likely enjoy. The combination of malts used sets it apart from many of the other offerings currently available, giving it an enjoyable and unique flavor profile. If this appeals to you (as it does to me), then give the New Riff Sour Mash Single Malt a try! Cheers!🥃

We hope you have enjoyed our New Riff Single Malt Review! If you would like to learn about a couple of New Riff’s other whiskeys, then check out our New Riff Malted Rye Whiskey Review and New Riff Winter Whiskey Review!

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