Classification: Straight Rye
Company: Wilderness Trail Distillery
Distillery: Wilderness Trail Distillery
Age: 3 Years
Mashbill: 56% Rye, 33% Corn, 11% Malted Barley
Wilderness Trail Distillery co-founders Shane Baker and Pat Heist first started distilling operations in Danville, Kentucky in 2013. For their aged whiskeys, they start with Kentucky sourced grains and a proprietary yeast, which is a blend of strains collected over the years. A proprietary Infusion Mashing Process is used for their sweet mash, which is said to produce a softer and flavorful distillate. A chemical-free steam boiler is used, where only pure steam goes into their cooker and beer column. Distillation started with a 250 gallon Vendome Pot Hybrid Still, which produced the first bourbons they made. As the company has expanded, they introduced both a 40 foot tall, 18-inch beer column still and a 40 foot tall, 36-inch continuous beer still along with a 500 gallon doubler.
Whiskeys enter 53-gallon #4 char barrels at 110 proof for bourbon and 100 proof for rye, which is believed to be the lowest rye entry proof in Kentucky. Wilderness Trail states that their goal is to age whiskeys onsite for an average of 6-8 years, however as honey barrels are identified they’re being released in limited quantities to the market
This particular rye whiskey is a 3 year old single barrel (#15D22) straight rye, bottled at a cask strength of 97 proof, meaning it dropped 3 proof points from its original barrel entry proof of 100 over its three years of aging. It’s peppy and bright on the nose, with aromas of butterscotch, rye, vanilla, and a hint of caramel. On the sip, rye spice is most prominent, along with balanced sweet notes of honey and caramel. There’s a youthful characteristic to it as well, but not overly so. The finish is warming with a touch of leather, oak, citrus, and finally more rye spice. It sticks around for a while with rye spice lingering the longest.
I tend to find rye matures more quickly than bourbon, as I’ve enjoyed younger rye releases but often find younger bourbon releases often still taste underaged. While this rye definitely tastes youthful, it’s developed a nice flavor profile in just 3 years. The low 100 barrel entry proof is interesting as well - while this was common in the early 1800’s when whiskey was sold by the barrel it has certainly trended upward, often found at or pushing the typical 125 barrel entry proof limit. I’m excited to see how Wilderness Trail’s aged whiskeys develop over the upcoming years.
The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy ofWilderness Trail Distillery. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.