The New Riff Distillery in Newport, Kentucky, is one of my favorite 21st century distilleries in Kentucky. They are making some excellent whiskeys and are not afraid to experiment. One of their experiments is a 100% malted rye whiskey. Malting the rye allows them to make the whiskey without using malted barley or enzymes. Rye malt has some of the sweet and nutty characteristics of malted barley, but they are more subtle. One hundred percent malted rye was something that was made by several distilleries before Prohibition. Old Pogue Distillery had their Maysville Club Rye in Kentucky and I have seen a few bottles from pre-prohibition Pennsylvania, as well. I am glad to see this whiskey style return to the market.
Rosemary ordered this bottle online when it came out. I have hopes that this whiskey will not be a “one off” product from New Riff. The whiskey is Bottled-in-Bond and is six years old. It is a very good Rye whiskey. Matt and I tasted this bottle and here are our notes.
New Riff Malted Rye Bottled-in-Bond
Age: Six Years Old
- Mike: Rye grass, vanilla with berries and ripe apples, baking spices and sweet oak wood.
- Matt: Rye grass with brown sugar, rhubarb and orange zest and sweet oak wood.
- Mike: Rye grass, vanilla and fruit – raspberries and cherries with baking spices and sweet oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the vanilla comes forward and the spice becomes mostly cinnamon. Tasted with a pecan and the rye grass is stronger with a hint of citrus and lots of cinnamon spice.
- Matt: Lots of rye grass, vanilla and orange zest with sweet oak wood. Notes of orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream come out with the rye grain. Tasted with a pecan and the fruit moves to the background with vanilla and caramel and a buttery mouth-feel dominate the flavor.
- Mike: Medium long with oak and baking spices. The dried cranberry made the spice cinnamon with lingering flavors of dried cherry. The pecan made the finish much longer with oak, cinnamon and a hint of citrus.
- Matt: Long with oak and cayenne pepper. The dried cranberry made the finish very spicy with cayenne and black pepper and only a hint of oak. The pecan made the finish very peppery with black pepper and oak.
I would pair this Rye whiskey with a cigar that is earthy and spicy in the smoke. A Rocky Patel Sun Grown is what I would reach for as a pairing with this fine whiskey.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller