About Wilderness Trail Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
Wilderness Trail Distillery is a craft operation that was launched in 2012 in Bold Danville, Kentucky. Mixing old traditions with modern science, they aim to create fine bourbon and other spirits. Founded by Shane Baker and Pat Heist, a pair with over 20 years of experience with fermentation and alcohol production under their belts, they craft unique spirits using locally-grown grains. Their spirits are hand-crafted and they pride themselves on being "not interested in making the most, just the best."
The founders were left with several yeast strains they had collected over the years in the industry and put them to good use in the distillery. The premium corn, wheat, and rye are sourced from the nearby Caverndale Farms and Walnut Grove Farms from Adairville, Kentucky, while their malted barley comes from Louisville. The natural Kentucky limestone springwater completes the 100% Kentucky list of ingredients.
Their production methods include the proprietary Infusion Mashing Process, which ― together with their unique yeast strains ― results in a softer and uniquely flavorful distillate. They are the first Kentucky bourbon distillery to use a chemical-free clean steam boiler that minimizes off flavors. Instead of sour mash, they rely on a sweet mash, which enables more flavors to be extracted from the grains. They employ a hybrid pot still, as well as two continuous column stills. All the whiskey is distilled, aged, and bottled on-site. Wilderness Trail produces bourbon, rye whiskey, vodka, and bourbon barrel-aged rum.
The Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey expression employs their sweet mash process and the spirit is barrelled at 100 and 105 proof. These numbers used to be higher, so the final proof of the bottles can vary. Crafted from a mash bill of 56% Kentucky-grown Heritage rye (from the local KY Proud farm), 33% corn, and 11% malted barley, the rye whiskey is then aged for a minimum of 4 years and up to 8 years in the upper floors of their rickhouses.
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As American as the bald eagle, rye whiskey was first brewed in the American Northeast in the 1600s. Even George Washington distilled it after leaving the Oval Office, so there’s no way of denying its origin.
It’s distinguished from bourbon for its original and unique spicy notes.
By law, rye whiskey must be made from at least 51% rye grain, aged in new and charred oak barrels for at least two years, and bottled at no more than 62,5% ABV.
Check out our impressive selection of rye whiskeys, find your new favorites in The best-reviewed rye whiskeys, and explore our treasury of Best rye bottles under $100.