Review #38 New Riff Straight Bourbon

Updated: Feb 20, 2021

Distillery: New Riff Distillery

Proof: 100

Age: NAS

Mashbill: 65% Corn, 30% Rye, and 5% Malted Barley


BACKGROUND: New Riff Distilling was launched in 2014 by Ken Lewis and Jar Erisman in Newport, KY. They initially launched the brand O.K.I. which was a high rye bourbon sourced from MGP. While they sourced and bottled that whiskey, they were busy distilling and aging their own whiskey. Once they were ready to distribute their own whiskey at a scalable size, they retired the O.K.I. brand and launched their own whiskey brand aptly named New Riff. They have 4 flagship whiskeys: this small batch straight bourbon, a straight rye whiskey, a single barrel bourbon whiskey, and a single barrel rye whiskey. They also do many private barrels as well as limited releases. New Riff Bourbon is bottled-in-bond, non-chill filtered, and aged at least 4 years.


NOSE: New Riff Straight Bourbon has a very sweet nose that is dominated by sweet corn, light butterscotch, and some oak spice. It is relatively simple and light but still enjoyable. (21/25)


PALATE: The flavor profile on New Riff Straight Bourbon is very similar to the nose. It is a balance of vanilla, oak, and rye spice. There is also an odd fresh mint flavor that is in the background. Overall it is a unique whiskey that is easy to drink and tasty. (33/40)


FINISH: The finish is long with dried dark fruit, rye spice, and an oaky cinnamon flavor that leaves you craving another sip. Overall this is a very tasty finish that is full of unique flavors and leaves you wanting more. (22/25)


VALUE: New Riff Straight Bourbon has a $45 SRP which is a little pricey for a 100 proof NAS whiskey. However, it is tasty and unique and I would pay up to $50 although I think that this whiskey should be priced at around $35-40. (8/10)


Overall: 84/100


FINAL THOUGHTS: New Riff is a very cool whiskey brand that is passionate about making consistently good whiskey. This straight bourbon is a great entry for the brand and shows a lot of promise. This is a great daily drinker for any whiskey drinker. I strongly recommend trying any New Riff whiskey and see if you like it. We hope to be able to do a private barrel in the future with them to be able to give our fans a chance to try New Riff out themself.


Similar & Slightly Better Whiskey: Four Roses Small Batch Select

Similar & Equal Whiskey: Chicken Cock Straight Bourbon

Similar & Slightly Worse Whiskey: Buffalo Trace


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Scoring Legend:

96-100: The perfect dram, juice of the gods

90-95: Near perfect, truly incredible whiskey

85-89: Amazing whiskey, will always try to keep a backup bottle of this

80-84: Very good, some minor flaws here or there

75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink, Will try and keep a bottle on the shelf

70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get this

60-69: Decent, would offer this up to non-whiskey drinkers

50-59: Not my cup of tea

Below 50: Give away

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