New Riff Distilling of Newport, Kentucky, hopes to start a new holiday tradition with the launch of its Winter Whiskey, a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey made with malted oat and chocolate malt. Reminiscent of a chocolate oatmeal stout, this addition to New Riff’s lineup is a seasonal stunner.
“When we considered putting oats in a bourbon, our minds went to the chocolate oatmeal stouts we enjoyed in our brewing careers,” said head distiller Brian Sprance. “Our Winter Whiskey will warm your palate with the cheer and flavors of the season. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever made or tasted.”
Before joining New Riff, Sprance worked for the Boston Brewing Co. as a brewer for Sam Adams in Cincinnati. Rather than hire a distiller, New Riff founder Ken Lewis recruited Sprance—because Lewis knows it is fermentation where a spirit’s flavors are created. He was trained by legendary distiller Larry Ebersold, who served as New Riff’s consulting master distiller. This release is a perfect example of how Sprance can marry brewing and distilling together.
Winter Whiskey tastes like a conversation between the dry cocoa quality of the chocolate malt, a balanced amount of oak and a unique spicy quality distinct from that of rye. The finish dances away on the oaty spice, with hints of Belgian cocoa. Despite the suggestion of chocolate in the grains — and in the name — Winter Whiskey never turns sweet or cloying, tending to delicate dryness.
The unique mashbill is made up of 65% corn, 20% malted oats, 7% pale ale malt, 5% steel cut raw oats and 3% chocolate malt. Winter Whiskey is bottled in bond without chill filtration at 100 proof, and aged at least four years.
Winter Whiskey will be available across New Riff’s distribution, with a suggested MSRP of $49.99.