New Riff Backsetter Bourbon

New Riff Backsetter Bourbon bottle

Credit: Lost Cargo

New Riff Backsetter Bourbon

New Riff’s Backsetter Bourbon doesn’t use any peated grains, but instead uses peated backset from a previous distillation as a part of the sour-mash process.

New Riff’s Backsetter whiskeys are crafted using a traditional sour mash Kentucky regimen, incorporating a portion of grain “backset” from a previous distillation into the new batch. Sour mash whiskey is made by using fermented “backset” to start the fermentation of a new batch, much like sourdough bread starter. These whiskeys take a unique twist by utilizing backset from a distillation of peat-smoked malted barley and rye, resulting in a smoky and distinctive flavor profile that complements the spicy and rich characteristics of the bourbon and rye.

Co-founder Jay Erisman describes the Backsetter whiskeys as hauntingly unique, with layers of peat adding depth to the spicy rye and bourbon flavors. New Riff’s distilling team leverages their understanding of how the backset influences the final product, combining tradition with experimentation. The use of a previous distillation allows one recipe to inform the flavor development of another, offering a glimpse into the evolving flavors within New Riff’s warehouses.