New Riff B&B Single Barrel 19005 Bourbon
New Riff, as the name implies, is a relative newcomer to the Kentucky Bourbon game, and even newer for us California based whiskeyphiles. They are located in Newport, Kentucky, just across the Ohio river from Cincinnati - well away from the heart of Bourbon Country. Founded in 2014 by Ken Lewis and Jay Erisman, New Riff grew out of a deep love for American whiskey that the two developed while working at the Party Source liquor store, which Ken owned and Jay curated the spirits for. That store now shares its property with the New Riff Distillery, which stands unassumingly in the store's parking lot, quietly churning out world class whiskey.
That whiskey is proudly in the Kentucky tradition - sour mash, open fermentation, distillation on all copper column stills, aging in full size new American white oak barrels - but without any of that tall tale tellin', folksy Kentucky hogwash that can be de rigueur in mainstream Bourbania. One of the keys to their early success was patience, at a time in craft distilling when few could afford it. They wait at least four years for all of their bourbon and rye to mature in 100% toasted oak barrels before bottling at 100 proof, in accordance with the Bottled-in-Bond standards that were set by the U.S. government in 1897 and remain a trusted marker of quality. They also release cask strength single barrels regularly, and as special private barrel selections, which is what we are dealing with here.
This barrel, #19005, was distilled in May 2019 and bottled in October 2023, aging for a total of about 4.5 years. It is made from their standard mashbill of 65% corn, 30% rye, and 5% malted barley. On the nose, there is a greeting party of fruit: strawberry jam and ripe banana, with sweet vanilla and a darker fruit/sherry/root beer element that hints of deeper things to come. On the palate, sweet-tart cherry pie, mocha, red apple skin, and a touch of pepper lead to a dark, rounded finish of chocolate covered espresso beans and lingering spice. Bottled at cask strength, 56.15% (112.3 Proof).