The New Riff Distillery is located in Covington, Kentucky. When the New Riff Distillery was founded, they were heavily influenced by their neighbor distillery north of the Ohio River – MGP, and they sought advice from the people at MGP and the result is they make their whiskey with similar mash bills. Every now and then they experiment with new styles and grains and that is what they have done with this rye whiskey. It uses an heirloom variety of rye grain called Balboa Rye. It is grown locally for the distillery and it does give the rye whiskey a unique flavor. I picked up a bottle of this whiskey the other day and Matt and I sat down to taste it. Here are our tasting notes.

New Riff Balboa Rye Whiskey Bottled-in-Bond


Age: Four Years Old


  • Mike: Rye grass, caramel, apricots, honeysuckle, oak wood.
  • Matt: Caramel, brown sugar, honey, oranges, oak wood.


  • Mike: Rye grass, vanilla, apricots, cinnamon, and oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the vanilla and apricots are enhanced and the cinnamon takes a back seat. Tasted with a pecan and citrus and chocolate notes come out to join the party.
  • Matt: Rye grass, caramel, honey, oranges and oak wood. The dried cranberry enhanced the orange and caramel flavors. The pecan brought out the flavor of an orange chocolate candy.


  • Mike: Medium long with oak and cinnamon spice. The dried cranberry made the finish sweeter with oak and lingering apricot with only a hint of cinnamon. The pecan made the finish very long with oak, cinnamon and lingering chocolate.
  • Matt: Very long and complex with oak, rye grass, honey and lingering orange. The dried cranberry made the finish shorter and less complex with oak and rye grass and a hint of honey. The pecan made the finish very long with oak wood and lingering orange.

I would pair this rye whiskey with a cigar that is rich in vanilla and tobacco in the smoke. I would reach for a NUB Maduro cigar.

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller