About – “The New Riff Backsetter® series offers profound evidence for the impact of the sour mash process on whiskey flavor. We are firmly committed to the production of sour mash whiskeys, according to Kentucky tradition; yet we are also committed to creating a new riff. For this release, we have used backset from peated malted barley in the mashing of our standard Bourbon and Rye recipe. The resultant smoky flavor is hauntingly unique, with layers of peat enveloping creamy-spicy Bourbon and Rye, respectively.” Backsetter is an exclusive release for the New Riff Whiskey Club. It is aged for 4 years, bottled at 100 proof, and costs $50.
Nose – Caramel and citrus lead the way. The peat is there but it is fairly light and dances in and out of the nose. If anything it boosts the bourbon notes.
Palate – Very nice velvety mouthfeel that coats the entire palate. The smoky peat is more evident on the palate giving the experience a darker note than other New Riff bourbon I have had. Caramel gives way to baking spicy leading to a long lightly smoky finish.
Score – B-
Verdict – I like this more than I though I would. The peat plays well with the bourbon profile. The darker, smoky peat notes lift the bright citrus notes of the bourbon. Would I reach for this every day? No, but it does fill a hole I didn’t know collection had. New Riff continues to push the edge of innovation, and as is becoming the norm for them have put out another interesting, high quality release.