New Riff Releases First Sour Mash Single Malt Whiskey

New Riff Distilling is releasing the first bottling of its Sour Mash Single Malt whiskey this month. The distillery first shared the news about the Sour Mash Single Malt project in July, but started distilling batches of malt whiskey back in 2014.

“On one hand, it is entirely different from everything else we’ve ever made,” said co-founder Jay Erisman in a prepared statement. “But on the other, it is entirely faithful to our mission to be a ‘new riff on an old tradition,’ using the sour mash regimen to explore another classic whiskey tradition.”

The earliest distillations of the project started in the first few months of the distillery’s existence. Over the years, they’ve explored additional mashbills and barrels, filling barrels at 110 proof and letting them age in Northern Kentucky.

New Riff Sour Mash Single Malt

New Riff Distilling is releasing the first bottling of its Sour Mash Single Malt whiskey this month. (image via New Riff)

Anticipated to be released annually, the exact blend of New Riff Sour Mash Single Malt will change slightly from year to year. The 2023 release, comprised of five of the six recipes, consists of whiskey distilled from 2014-2016, ranging from 7 to 8 years old.

Six different mashbills have been created using a range of different malted barleys and a variety of cask types, Erisman said, which are vatted together into one expression. The mashbills include four whiskeys made with 100% barley varietals—Golden Promise, Maris Otter, Chevallier heirloom barley, and Scottish peated barley malt—as well as two beer-inspired mashbills based on classic Barleywine and Belgian Quadrupel recipes. Each offers a distinct flavor profile.

The malt whiskeys have matured in a variety of barrels, ranging from new charred oak, de-charred toasted oak, red wine casks, Portuguese brandy casks, classic sherried oak casks, and more.

“American Single Malt is a growing category in the whiskey industry and pending legislation will give it a firm identity — but even within that, we believe New Riff Sour Mash Single Malt is a complex and provocative malt whiskey enterprise,” Erisman added.

Sour Mash Single Malt, 100% malted barley, MSRP $69.99/750mL, will be bottled at cask strength, and like all New Riff products, without chill filtration. It will be available at New Riff’s distillery gift shop in Newport, Ky., and at select retailers across New Riff’s national distribution network beginning in early October.

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Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...