April 12, 2019

Behind the Scenes of Wrestling with Whiskey's Pick at New Riff Distilling

Matt Rehwoldt is more widely known by his WWE ring name, Aiden English, but fans should take notice of a new project he's pinning down. When Rehwoldt isn't wrestling on SmackDown or commentating for 205 Live, you might find him sipping his way through distilleries across the Midwest. About two years ago, Rehwoldt decided he wanted to graduate from shooting and sipping whiskey to actually learning about it and its rich history — really tasting the whiskey for its unique spirit. "Doing that, I discovered all the history and community behind bourbon, and it was intoxicating," he said in a recent interview. Last year, he created "Wrestling With Whiskey," an Instagram account where Rehwoldt aims to take followers on an"unpretentious journey into the bold and beautiful world of whiskey and especially bourbon." You can expect to scroll through his feed and discover bourbons and whiskeys he's tried, along with some commentary. But his recent bourbon barrel pick at Newport's New Riff Distilling, which won double gold at this year's San Francisco World Spirits Competition, was a first for his bourbon ventures. It's something Rehwoldt plans to continue every year at different distilleries. The pick was a special collaboration between a few other members of WWE — including fellow wrestler Eric Young and announcer Greg Hamilton — along with Eric Bollman of Northern Kentucky's Cork ’n Bottle, as part of New Riff's Private Barrel selection program. Each Single Barrel available in the program has it's own unique flavor profile. The barrels chosen to be a part of the program are tested and approved by New Riff's production panel, who identify certain elements that set the barrel far enough apart from their traditional bourbon that they deserve to be recognized by themselves. The Wrestling With Whiskey group analyzed and voted on which barrel tasting notes aligned with their vision for the bourbon and taste-tested through their top five choices to land on their favorite. The tasting notes behind the Wrestling With Whiskey Single Barrel bourbon are described as "oak, caramel & maple on the nose. Flavors of sweet honey & clove w/ spicy cinnamon finish." Beginning April 12 at 3 p.m., bottles will be available for purchase at the Cork ’n Bottle shop at CVG. For more info about New Riff's Single Barrel program, click here. Follow Wrestling With Whiskey's journey here.
Photos by Hailey Bollinger
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Behind the Scenes of Wrestling with Whiskey's Pick at New Riff Distilling
Behind the Scenes of Wrestling with Whiskey's Pick at New Riff Distilling
Hailey Bollinger
The pick was a special collaboration between a few members of WWE, like wrestlers Matt Rehwoldt, Eric Young and announcer Greg Hamilton, along with Eric Bollman of Northern Kentucky's Cork ’n Bottle and CityBeat publisher Tony Frank (and friends), as part of New Riff's Private Barrel selection program.
Hailey Bollinger
The pick was a special collaboration between a few members of WWE, like wrestlers Matt Rehwoldt, Eric Young and announcer Greg Hamilton, along with Eric Bollman of Northern Kentucky's Cork ’n Bottle and CityBeat publisher Tony Frank (and friends), as part of New Riff's Private Barrel selection program.
The tour began at New Riff's distillery, where the group learned about the process behind the bourbon.
Hailey Bollinger
The tour began at New Riff's distillery, where the group learned about the process behind the bourbon.
Alina Allread explains the bourbon fermentation process
Hailey Bollinger
Alina Allread explains the bourbon fermentation process
Lab where production panel tests bourbons
Hailey Bollinger
Lab where production panel tests bourbons
In the distilling room
Hailey Bollinger
In the distilling room
Next, the group arrived at the New Riff's West Newport campus to tour where barrel aging, bottling and more takes place
Hailey Bollinger
Next, the group arrived at the New Riff's West Newport campus to tour where barrel aging, bottling and more takes place
Behind the Scenes of Wrestling with Whiskey's Pick at New Riff Distilling
Hailey Bollinger
Behind the Scenes of Wrestling with Whiskey's Pick at New Riff Distilling
Hailey Bollinger