New Riff Single Barrel Rye

I’ve been a fan of New Riff’s bourbon for some time now. What they can do in a handful of years is remarkable. Until today, I’ve yet to experience their straight rye whiskey, and I’m doing so with their single-barrel expression, bottled NCF at full barrel proof. Cue the riff!


Pour: New Riff Single Barrel KY Straight Rye Whiskey 16-2074
Proof: 105.2
Age: 4 years
Color: amber
Nose: apple, honey-butter, lemon zest, floral spice
Taste: cake frosting, lemon-lime soda, hints of ginger
Finish: moderately long – toffee drizzle, peppery oak, faint leather


Overall: A zesty, enjoyable Kentucky rye. While there’s a trace of youth here, it’s not at all distracting. In fact, I’d argue the vibrancy enhances its character. New Riff Single Barrel Rye is flavorful, sips its proof, and as such, gets my recommendation.

Rating: Refreshing.

Four Roses Small Batch Select

In 2019, Four Roses debuted its first core expression since 2006, Four Roses Small Batch Select. Composed of six of the distillery’s ten signature recipes and bottled at 104 proof (NCF), it was virtually a success before hitting a single shelf. It’s 2021; let’s check in.


Pour: Four Roses Small Batch Select
Proof: 104
Age: NAS (reportedly 6-7 years)
Color: copper
Nose: fruity vanilla, citrus zest, sweet herbal tea
Taste: peppery caramel, orange peel, honey-esque oak
Finish: moderately long – frosted sugar cookies, oak char, earthy/floral spice


Overall: Filling Jim Rutledge’s shoes can’t be easy, but master distiller Brent Elliott sure makes it look that way. Granted, we’re still sipping bourbon distilled under Jim’s care, but the batch itself is on point and checks every box it should for $55.

Rating: It’s great.

Old Tub

A not-so-attractive name with important historical significance. Some folks call Jim Beam’s Old Tub “Booker’s Junior.” An oxymoron of sorts, but they’re not entirely wrong. Regardless, a bottled-in-bond NCF KSBW for $20. What can go wrong?


Pour: Old Tub
Proof: 100
Age: at least 4 years
Color: amber
Nose: peanut brittle, buttered corn, light baking spice
Taste: peppery vanilla, nutty caramel toffee, toasted sugar
Finish: moderate length – sharp vanilla, brisk oak, diminishing black pepper


Overall: It’s $20, better than Beam Black, and it makes a solid Old Fashioned. Knob Creek it is not, but then it’s not supposed to be. Old Tub is decent whiskey at a budget price. It also looks good sitting on a shelf next to bottles triple its price.

Rating: No complaints.