Distiller: Wilderness Trail Distillery
Spirit: Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Aged: 5yr 7mo
Price: Around $54.99
Bern’s Steak House Website
About The Distillery
“In 2006, our journey began with a passion for creating the finest whiskeys in the world. We are fortunate to be nestled in the rolling hills of Historically Bold Danville, Kentucky, the birthplace of Kentucky, and also being exposed to the Kentucky Bourbon industry for generations while growing up. In fact, Shane’s family has been distilling in Kentucky since the 1940s when his grandmother, Doris Ballard, met his grandfather, Hubert Ballard, at the Kentucky River Distillery when they were 14 and 16 years old. Doris Ballard went on to retire from Stitzel-Weller after a more than 50 year career in the industry. This type of family history provides a lot of our influences today, including some special yeast strains.”
About The Bottle
“Our Small Batch release mash bill is 64 percent corn, 24 percent rye and 12 percent malted barley using our yeast strains. We entered the cooper select, toasted and #4 char barrel at 110 proof after coming off the still around 137 proof. All of our whiskeys are aged and matured on our 168-acre campus inside any one of our six rickhouses. We have more than 100,000 barrels aging onsite.”
Notes & Review
Nose: For a bourbon, it has a very thick rye note right on the front of the pour. This opens up into notes of dry roasted oak, baking spices, cinnamon, honey clove, and cherry cola syrup.
Palate: The palate is thick and viscus, coating the inside of your mouth. On the front it has strong notes of toasted rye, baking spices, dry roasted corn, and cracked black pepper. These open up into malt, charred nutmeg, grilled apples, and cinnamon spice.
Finish: The finish is bold, much like the pour. It finishes with notes of singed straw, campfire oak, baking spice, and black pepper.
Review: Wilderness Trail has really surged in popularity over the last few months, producing solid whiskey at an affordable price. Even better yet, it’s relatively easy to find.
The Family Reserve Bourbon pick by “Beef & Leaf,” a collaboration between Thomas DeAddio and Nate Wilson from Davidoff of Geneva and Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, FL amp the flavors up to 11.
The bourbon is bold. But, at 117 proof, that is to be expected.
The mash bill is 64% corn, 24% rye, and 12% malted barley. With the higher rye content, it’s unsurprising that the rye peaks through pretty immediately in both the nose and the palate. However, it’s still balanced by more sweet and subtle notes that pull it from “overly bold” to a more rounded and complex experience.
I tend to enjoy pours that either pull heavily in one direction (ex. spicy, sweet, earthy, etc) or that really maintain a well balance of flavors. I find the drams that exist somewhere in the nebulous realm of uncertainty relatively unexciting.
However, I’m pleased to report that this bourbon is very nicely balanced between bold and subtle, and sweet and spicy.
Overall, its a great pour for those looking for something more complex that they can pull apart a little more with each sip.
User Review( vote)
Greg Sinadinos started his spirits journey writing a whiskey periodical for Fine Tobacco NYC Magazine. He began answering review requests under a social media page he named “Whiskey Culture,” which quickly merged with Greg’s passion for connecting with others and his interest in history.
Today, Greg travels the country not just looking for great whiskey, but also exploring the history and individuals that the whiskey community is founded upon. He has authored “Whiskey History From Around The World” and is the host of “The Rickhouse” web series.