New Riff Distilling Launches ‘Backsetter’ Peat-smoked Whiskeys

New Riff Distilling Backsetter

New Riff Distilling has announced their latest release, slated for early May, which explores the sour mash method with two peat-smoked whiskeys.

Under the name Backsetter, these two expressions utilize a portion of the grain “backset” from a previous distillation in the mash of the new batches, here with peat-smoked malted barley and rye. The duo includes New Riff Backsetter Bourbon, and New Riff Backsetter Rye.

With the same mashbill as New Riff’s standard bourbon and rye recipes, co-founder Jay Erisman says the peat-smoked malted barley and rye backsets lend a smoky cast to the whiskeys. Using a previous distillation allows one recipe to inform the flavor of another.

New Riff Backsetter Bourbon has an oaky nose, and with water opens to grain and rye spice against a smoldering backdrop, the company reports. The palate is soft-textured with the peat more immediate than on the nose. A spicy rye top note at midpalate is joined by smoke, oak, sweet corn and grassy rye. The finish pings between smoky peat and a peppery-clove rye note.

New Riff Backsetter Rye shows peat at the front of the nose with hints of fruit and grassy rye, the company reports. After a splash of water the peat retreats into notes of grassy rye and subtle cinnamon spice. Medium- to full-bodied on the palate, rounded and chewy — and with quite a bit of peat — the Backsetter Rye’s midpalate of sugared fruit and cinnamon-allspice heads to a finish of smoke and rye spice, with notes of Thai long black pepper and grain of paradise. 


Both the New Riff Backsetter Bourbon and Rye are bottled-in-bond without chill filtration, and aged at least four years. The Backsetter Bourbon is 65% corn, 30% rye and 5% malted barley. The Backsetter Rye is 95% rye and 5% malted rye.

Backsetter Bourbon and Rye will be available at suggested retail of $49.99 per 750-ml. bottle, throughout portions of New Riff’s distribution footprint and through New Riff’s Whiskey Club

Kyle Swartz is editor of Beverage Dynamics magazine. Reach him at or on Twitter @kswartzz. Read his recent piece How Can Craft Distilling Survive The Coronavirus?



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