Sunday Funday in the whiskey study! Don't you love a good collaboration? I'm relatively new to the New Riff scene, but I've tried a few things I have really liked. If you are following me on Instagram, you might have seen this bottle open and making waves in tasting flights already in my house. I figured it was time for a proper evaluation after a nice Sunday spent eating good with family. Let's get into it.
I received this bottle from Altamar Brands who kindly provided me the opportunity to review it with no strings attached.
Company on Label: High N' Wicked (Distilled by New Riff)
Whiskey Type: Straight Rye Whiskey
Mash Bill Percentages: 95% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
Age: 5 years
Further identification: This batch of whiskey is produced for High N' Wicked by New Riff on an all copper column and doubler
Nose: Ooh, a nice lemon frosting right out of the gate on the nose. Creamy vanilla and an undercurrent of bright linen also greet me early on. Wet, green flower stems on deep pulls. Sweet florals dance softly in the background; mainly hibiscus and rose petals. This glass is quite soft tonight, like a bed of nasturtium. Hints of cinnamon bread, cola and slightly funky, perfumed oak build in the glass. Time for a sip. Afterwards the nose has developed some dark, powdery chocolate notes that present softly over the aromas of a well-used campfire pit. A swirl of the glass builds on the oaky characteristics even more. I envision a tall stack of oak firewood next to the pit now. There's just a hint of bubblegum hanging out in the background of this one, while the main powerful aroma continues to be quite citrus forward. Hints of caramel pop in and out. Woah, later in the glass things have returned to the creamy characteristics we started with, now producing some rich butterscotch alongside a level molasses. Vanilla returns with vigor which I'm finding quite enjoyable and savoring. Every time I come back to the nose I am finding myself enjoying this pour more!
Palate: My first sip is soft with lemongrass and orange rind leading the way. There's a nice grassy characteristic that I'm sure rye lovers are very familiar with. Squeezing my tongue into my gums produces slight patches of mint that come off in quick flashes. Another sip builds in some deep, earthy spices like paprika and basil, as well as sending another big wave of citrus across my palate. Dry black tea now begins to build in my glass, suddenly feeling quite dark and cool like an impending rain storm is coming in. It reminds me of being on many camping trips in pine forests with little to protect me but perhaps one tarp or just a tent. The nose has taken over in some great complexity now where I've been reluctant to go for another sip. When I finally do, I find a shift in profile that has lost some of it's impressive flavors. There's still sweet forest undergrowth smells all through this glass that makes it feel quite woodsy. While I can thoroughly appreciate this experience as an avid outdoorsman, it doesn't leave me overly impressed from a whiskey evaluation perspective. My last sip is filled with lemon peel, soft clove, a sprinkle of nutmeg and a lingering oak bark.
I'm a bit surprised by tonight's tasting. This bottle recently took the top spot on a really low-key, impromptu flight that I posted on Instagram, so perhaps my expectations were a little higher. This is definitely one of those that's high on my 3 score. I will certainly enjoy the rest of this bottle in good company on nights that rye feels right! It did one night beat out Early Times, Old Grand Dad 114, and a Larceny store pick, but tonight it was just a little uninspiring of true greatness. I did enjoy the pour and always appreciate getting to experience good whiskey coming from new places!