Wilderness Trail Single Barrel Straight Kentucky Rye

Macaulay Minton selection “Rye Love You”

Some time back a good friend of mine sent me a blind sample pack. Completely unaware of what was in the bottle, I did my best to guess the spirit, age, proof, and also give him some of my tasting notes. I could tell it was a rye but something was different about this whiskey. Something just a bit more unique and special. That element turned out to be the toasted barrel the whiskey aged in, a distinction I hadn’t seen prior on Wilderness Trail ryes.

The mystery of the “Rye Love You” label would be revealed much later as I dug through various Reddit posts and whiskey review blogs. I was coming up empty until that same friend went on a pick at Wilderness Trail and asked just what store this mystery pick belonged to. Turns out, it was selected by Macaulay himself, Wilderness Trail’s very own Private Barrel Program director. I’ve never met the man, but he has high praise from many of my friends and I can say undoubtedly, that he selected an amazing rye.

Distillery: Wilderness Trail Distillery.

Region: Danville, Kentucky.

ABV: 57.5%.

Age: 4 Years 2 Months.

Cask type: New Charred Oak. ISC #4 and toasted. Barrel #15L21-26.

Price: $80.

Color: 1.4, Tawny. Natural Color.

Tasting Notes

Tasted neat in a Glencairn with 15+ minutes of rest. Dilution was added for the second half of the tasting with an additional rest of upwards of an hour. This review encompasses my initial impression to the final glass.

Nose: A subtle nose that opens with a delicate floral note and mixed rye spices. Sweet vanilla bean curd with a hint of orange extract. A marshmallow fluff sandwich made with fresh rye toast. Fresh ground coffee, blooming in a pour over carafe. A dram full of beautiful fall aromas. Woody with conifer needles, juniper berries, and dried bay leaves.

Palate: Cereal forward on the palate with those full, bold rye notes coming through. Cinnamon, clove, and pink peppercorns. It’s not a huge deviation from other low rye mash bills but solid for a whiskey that’s only 4 years old. Heather honey, light orange peel, corn syrup, and an artificial grape flavor like concord jelly or a jolly rancher. Dinstinc yeast and bready flavors amplify the cereals like sweet cornbread. As you give your glass a bit of a rest, the sweeter undertones of vanilla gelato bring everything together.

Finish: Dry cinnamon bark, star anise, and cardamom, steeping in a glass of bold black chai. Leather and bitter barrel char notes; tannic but not overly so. Flambeed desert and raspberry-topped creme brulee. Lastly, a light dash of finishing salt, just enough to make your tongue salivate. An oily texture encourages another sip as the finish lingers like a sweetened shot of espresso.


A very easy sipper and a bottle I’ve cherished. This rye has everything I want from an American whiskey. Black tea, fruit, and pleasant bitter balance. The cask toasting sets this bottle apart from many other ryes I’ve sampled including Michter’s Toasted Barrel Strength Rye.

The cream of the crop of Wilderness Trail picks and it comes from one of their very own employees. This bottle is my baseline for all future rye selections and it’s made me fall in love with Wilderness Trail ryes.

Final Score: 90