Age: 4 years old
Distillery: New Riff
Mashbill: 65 corn/20 malted oats/7 pale ale malt/5 steel cut oat/3 chocolate malt
Nose: Almond, burnt caramel, cardamom, cocoa powder, clove, coffee, corn, ethanol, grassy/earthy, plum, sawdust
Taste: Metallic/Thin. Black Pepper, clove, corn, earthy/grain, black tea, brown sugar, honey, burnt vanilla, tobacco.
Finish: Long. This is a weird finish. Rich malt on the front with some balanced spice of cinnamon and clove, followed up with a rich earthy malt very reminiscent of a beer (which makes sense given the mashbill). The burnt vanilla and brown sugar pop up right at the end to round it out from the weird malty – chocolatey fusion this profile has going on. The spice comes from the oats, so it isn’t as sharp or pronounced as it would be with rye grain, but still very similar in flavor but more subdued. Finish has a very nice length to it, but most of the flavor fades quickly and leaves you with a lot of malted sweetness.
Overall: You can see that New Riff hired a former master brewer. The mashbill on this seems like something you would expect to be in a beer. This is a very weird profile for a bourbon, not a lot of flavor going on – but the flavor you do get is very balanced and is what it should be. You don’t get these crazy, intricate, mysterious notes here – it very much taste like they wanted to recreate a bourbon finished stout and that is what they did.
This reminds me so much of a barrel aged stout that it scares me – it is just missing the mouthfeel. If this had that thick and rich mouthfeel you get from a beer variant of this, it would be a much better experience for me. I think the whiskey itself is just… fine. A unique and fun experiment from the awesome people at New Riff, but not something I would grab everyday. This is totally a sip on over the course of. Year type of bourbon to me.
I trust everything New Riff puts out. They have not let me down yet, but this is just missed the mark in a couple of places for me. Maybe more age would have brought on that richer mouthfeel and could have introduced a lot more oak presence to balance out all of the malt. New Riff does an awesome job at pricing their limited releases, so I can’t be mad that this is a $50 bottle. It isn’t something you see or taste very often.