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New Riff Unveils Rare Heirloom Bourbon Whiskey Duo

New Riff Distilling announced recently it is releasing a pair of new, heirloom grain bourbon whiskeys, Yellow Leaming and Blue Clarage Kentucky straight bourbons.

A statement from the distiller noted that these Ohio Valley heirloom varietal whiskeys will be available later this spring in limited quantities at the distillery’s Aquifer Tasting Bar, through Kentucky retailers and New Riff’s Whiskey Club.

In regards to the whiskey itself, both bourbons are bottled in bond without chill filtration, clocking in at 100 proof.

New Riff Blue Clarage Kentucky Straight Bourbon
New Riff Distilling announced recently it is releasing a pair of new, heirloom grain bourbon whiskeys, Yellow Leaming and Blue Clarage Kentucky straight bourbons. (image via New Riff)

The Yellow Leaming and Blue Clarage Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys were distilled from these regional heirloom corn crops, which New Riff distillers note lend unprecedented flavors to the spirit and connect the distillery to its agricultural origins of whiskey making from centuries passed.

“The wider whiskey industry is waking up to the possibilities and flavors inherent in old grains, old ingredients from a century ago,” said Jay Erisman, New Riff co-founder. “Heirloom grains are a direct ticket to different flavors, yet of great authenticity and reality. We are proud to do our part to preserve the past while continuing to highlight our brand’s commitment to industry-leading innovation.”

Erisman explained that the Yellow Leaming heirloom varietal is originally a derivative of a Native American corn, dating back to 1824. The grain used in this latest exploration was sourced and grown for New Riff by local farming partner, Charles Fogg, of Greensburg, Indiana.

“Yellow Leaming, one of the greatest corns in American agricultural history, would eventually go on to form the basis for the standard of modern American yellow dent corn, and it came from right here in Hamilton County, Greater Cincinnati, Ohio,” Erisman said.

The Ohio Valley Blue Clarage varietal, developed in the 1920s by farmer Edmund Clarridge in Clinton County, Ohio, is the basis for the second heirloom grain release from New Riff. It took a more circuitous route to the distillery, the whiskey maker noted, which brought a marked difference to the whiskey compared to New Riff’s standard recipe, including fruited, spicy tones.

“We were given 150 pounds of the blue corn as seed stock from farmer Tony West at Appalachian Heirloom Plant Farm,” Erisman said. “Charles Fogg took this seed stock and grew it into a crop that sustained our singular production of this whiskey for years. Often associated with the Southwest United States region and Mexico, blue corn comes from right here in our homeland in the Ohio Valley, too.”

The heirloom Yellow Leaming corn, at five years of age, led to a classic New Riff high-rye bourbon of depth and balance. For the heirloom Blue Clarage corn, Erisman described the nose as “providing an extra layer of fruitiness, juxtaposed against the clove-led spices of the 30% rye grain.”

The Yellow Leaming Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is made with 65% heirloom Yellow Leaming corn, 30% rye, and 5% malted barley. The Blue Clarage Straight Bourbon Whiskey has a mash bill of 65% heirloom Blue Clarage corn, 30% rye, and 5% malted barley.

Both whiskeys are aged five years and have a suggested retail price of $55.99. New Riff limits all sales to two bottles per purchase, a maximum of one product each per purchase, and they have to be picked up in person at the distillery within 60 days of purchase.

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Gary Carter

Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether that be a novel project, a start-up, an organization, a fresh-face to the journalistic world, or even something as simple as a short story. A native Texan and a Pacific Northwest convert, he is a whiskey enthusiast who cut his teeth on it ... literally!

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