Review: New Riff High Note Collection – Malted Rye and Bohemian Wheat Bourbon

Review: New Riff High Note Collection – Malted Rye and Bohemian Wheat Bourbon

Northern Kentucky’s New Riff Distillery just keeps on riffing, recently adding two new offerings to their limited-edition line, now dubbed the High Note Collection. Each is an 8 year old expression making this duo their oldest whiskeys to date, but both should be familiar to New Riff fans. One is a more aged expression of the distillery’s malted rye released in 2021 while the other, Bohemian Wheat Bourbon, is a more aged take on their earlier Maltster Bourbon inspired by the distilling team’s love of classic wheat beers. They are both bottled at cask strength, which is becoming a trend for New Riff’s rarer offerings. Let’s dig in.

New Riff High Note Collection – Malted Rye 8 Years Old – Made from 100% malted rye and showing the benefits of two more years in the barrel. Like the 6 year old malted rye, the aroma here is light and minty, but the fruit has been eclipsed somewhat with bigger, bolder barrel notes. The red fruits, cherry this time, are chocolate-covered, the oak is softer and less peppery, and a thick cream soda note develops as things open in the glass. On the palate, this is a rich and round and exceptionally balanced whiskey. While the extra aging may have curtailed the fruits on the nose, it seems to have enhanced them in the flavor department with lush layers of dark berry jam and cherry cobbler giving way to chocolate-covered strawberry on the midpalate. The maple syrup sweetness is dialed up at cask strength but never overbearing, and the finish is long with warm fruit cake, minted syrup, and cinnamon buns. A dynamite rye. 118.2 proof. A / $70

New Riff High Note Collection – Bohemian Wheat Bourbon – Made from a Bavarian Dunkelweizen-style bourbon mashbill comprising 65% non-GMO corn, 18% Bohemian floor-malted wheat, 10% unmalted wheat, and 7% dark wheat. Of note, the unique “riff” in this one, in addition to the mashbill, is the initial cook of unmalted wheat with corn. Like the younger Maltster release, this is an unexpected bourbon in the best possible way. The aroma is dark and rich with savory top notes – barrel char and warm pumpernickel bread – that give way to sweeter cocoa nibs, chocolate-covered caramel, and toasted coconut. The palate is just as dynamic, with waves of sweet and savory that offer up cappuccino, baking cocoa, cinnamon toast, and black cherry. The finish is long and unusually bright given what’s come before with notes of apple pie filling and lemon merengue. A unique and engaging bourbon. 117.9 proof. A- / $70

New Riff High Note Collection - Bohemian Wheat Bourbon




Drew Beard is assistant editor for Drinkhacker and winner of several booze-related merit badges, including Certified Specialist in Spirits and Executive Bourbon Steward. A former federal employee turned hotelier and spirits journalist, he looks forward to his next midlife crisis.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.