Wilderness Trail B&B Private Barrel Family Reserve Rye Whiskey
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Wilderness Trail arrived in California last year after creating quite a stir in their native Kentucky, where they released their first whiskies in 2018 after beginning distillation back in 2013. In that land, synonymous with tradition and big, famous whiskey labels, they were aware they had some tough competitors, but they managed to prove not only that they could stand toe to toe with those big names, but had something unique to be proud of all their own. Last year we fell in love with their cask strength, single barrel rye bottling, with its unique mash bill of 56% rye, 33% corn, and 11% malted barley. That mash bill lends itself to a rich and textured sip, with corn sweetness and barley body that isn't typically found in many craft ryes. It also boasts one of the absolute lowest barrel entry proofs we know of at just 100 proof, which no doubt also plays into the viscosity and lush texture. When we were offered the opportunity to pick a barrel of our own to be bottled for us, we jumped at it.
Oftentimes when we get barrel samples from a distillery, we'll get five or six samples with one being the clear standout. With Wilderness Trail we truly had a hard time narrowing them down, each one had so much to offer, all demonstrating that this is a distillery that really knows what they're doing. Aged for just over 4 years and bottled at 58% abv (gaining a whole 8 points during that time!), the barrel we went with has a big and expressive nose of mint, honey, vanilla wafers, baking spice, and a hint of oak. On the palate, those notes are explored further with more cool mint, a honeyed sweetness, clove, barrel char, and crisp green apples. The finish rests on a classic herbal rye note, with lingering oak spice and mint. With such great options, this barrel is truly the cream of the crop, beautifully displaying the softer side of rye grain's flavors, in a body so rich and luxurious it'll convert even the most ardent bourbon fan.