By Kurt Maitland
Atelier Vie is a small craft distillery in New Orleans, founded by Jedd Haas to provide a greater variety of locally produced distilled spirits. To further this goal, Atelier’s lineup includes a gin (a beauty of a release), a vodka and two high proof Absinthes.
However, as this is a whiskey magazine our focus today is Atelier Vie’s Riz, which is a Louisiana Rice Whiskey that lays claim to being “the first legal whiskey made in Louisiana since Prohibition.” This 90 proof (45% abv) white whiskey is hand-crafted from a 100% Louisiana rice mash by Atelier, making it a pure product of Louisiana.
Color: Clear as water but when it moves, it is obvious that is this is a more viscous substance.
Nose: It has a sweet, almost chocolate like nose.
Palate: Sweet and refreshing, with hints of minty chocolate and swirls of black licorice. Often when I think of white whiskies, my first instinct is to think of cocktails that can be made with them. With this release, my first thought is how I’m quite happy to drink it as is. The mouthfeel is very smooth, starting out full bodied and oily, then turning drier as the proof kicks in.
A little water takes away a little of the oily smoothness and makes the anise/black licorice notes take pole position in the flavor profile.
Finish: This has a beautiful, almost mint chocolate/hard candy finish that lingers for a bit with a medium burn.
I don’t know if it’s because this is my first taste of a Rice based American Whiskey, if it’s something in the rice and water from Louisiana but this is easily one of the best tasting white whiskies I’ve ever had. When I spoke to Haas, he felt that the flavors in Riz are a result of not just the rice, but also comes from the malt-whiskey yeast and pot-distillation process used by Atelier Vie. Whatever the reason, I can say I’m a fan.
$50 in its home base of Louisiana, and Riz is currently expanding to other states.