Maker: New Riff, Newport, Kentucky, USA (Ken Lewis, founder of The Party Source)
Style: Bonded, high rye bourbon.
Distilled in the spring of 2018.
Age: 4 y/o
Proof: 100 (50% ABV)
Michigan state minimum: $40
Appearance: Medium brown.
Nose: Char, leather, caramelized condensed milk, dried chilies.
Palate: Caramel, white chocolate, ancho chili powder.
Finish: A bit of leather, a lot of chili powder.
Parting words: I last reviewed a New Riff bourbon in June of 2021, when I reviewed a Red Wagon selection of the single barrel, barrel proof expression. I liked it (eventually), but I thought it was strange. Very herbal, even for a high rye bourbon, and there was that cut lumber aroma I get out of a lot of young, “craft” whiskeys. The lumber isn’t completely gone, but the basil and tobacco are. The result is a much more conventional, but still tasty, bourbon.
Of all the macro-distilled bourbons on the market, it reminds me of Old Grand Dad the most. It lacks the yeastiness, but the spice and char is similar. I’ve had a few single barrel Four Roses expressions with a similar profile too.
$40 isn’t too bad for a quality BiB in 2023, either. Factoring in “craft” beverage inflation, it’s almost a bargain. While it’s not a Glen Buxton Riff, it’s still a solid Joe Perry one. New Riff Bottled-in-Bond is recommended.