Wilderness Path Bourbon Aged 8 Years | Malt

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“The main points will not be the main points. They make the design.” – Charles Eames

Wilderness Path owes their emergence as the most effective younger distilleries in America to 3 easy phrases: trial and error. Founders Dr. Pat Heist and Shane Baker started distilling after six years of working their first enterprise collectively, Ferm Options. If that title is much less acquainted to you than ones like Vendome Copper & Brass Works or Unbiased Stave Firm, then that lets me know that you simply’re most likely not on the manufacturing aspect of whiskey, so let’s talk about it.

Ferm Options is a analysis and product growth firm for the ethanol and distilled spirits industries which focuses on offering enzymes and yeast to beverage alcohol firms and, after all, offering options within the fermentation course of. In addition they present lab companies and supply troubleshooting and consulting companies for distilleries. On its face this could point out to you that they’ve in depth know-how for working a distillery of their very own, however I’d be remiss if I didn’t go the additional step of mentioning that they’ve supplied these companies to over 600 beverage alcohol firms so far.

Distilleries all around the world have reached out to Dr. Pat Heist and Shane Baker for his or her experience as a result of as Dr. Pat defined to me, “One factor about being a yeast provider is that yeast will get the blame for each drawback {that a} distillery or a brewery has. If the fermenter’s not effervescent proper, it’s time to name the yeast supplier and begin complaining. So, should you’re going to achieve success as a yeast supplier you’ve obtained to be able to get that telephone name… and 99% of the time it’s not the yeast.” Because of fielding innumerous telephone calls of that selection, Ferm Options turned well-known amongst producers as the right troubleshooters, able to sniffing out any irregularity or oversight in a distillery’s working processes.

From there it made good sense that the pair ought to begin a distillery because it supplied them with their very own private area to supply distillery course of coaching and in addition, you understand, distill their very own whiskey. Dr. Pat additional defined that their work with Ferm Options granted them invaluable information, “Working round rattling close to each distillery that you would be able to title after they had been having issues, we figured it out. We all know all of the unhealthy concepts that there are on this trade so after we constructed Wilderness Path we excluded all of the unhealthy concepts and saved all the great concepts.” Thus, the 2 have been in a position to capitalize on the errors of others to good their very own craft.

It’s exactly that degree of experience and a spotlight to element that gave Wilderness Path a leg up after they started producing their very own whiskey, which started in 2013. They’ve rapidly set themselves aside in a variety of methods (a lot of which Shane Baker coated right here with Malt Editor in Chief Taylor Cope) however the fast hits embody their utilization of candy mash and an infusion mashing method, working a super-sterile chemical-free facility, a comparatively decrease barrel entry proof of 110 for his or her bourbon and 100 for his or her rye, plus a barely decrease cook dinner temperature which optimizes their power use and creates a greater product.

So, now that we’re primed to completely recognize a few of the science behind what units Wilderness Path aside, enable us to show our consideration towards the topic of in the present day’s assessment: their 8 12 months Excessive Rye Bourbon. Comprised of two 18 barrel small batch blends (one for the distillery launch and one other for his or her wider Kentucky launch), that is the oldest bourbon ever launched by Wilderness Path. That is made extra spectacular by the very fact Dr. Pat knowledgeable me that this bourbon was produced in a yr when the corporate solely laid down 300 barrels.

It ought to be famous right here that they now lay down a whopping 35,000 barrels a yr. This can be a bottled in bond whiskey that means it’s 100 proof (50% ABV) and it carries a instructed retail worth of $86, although the pattern used for this assessment was generously supplied to me by the distillery. Moreover, Wilderness Path makes use of Kentucky-grown corn, wheat, and rye of their whiskey which is notable for the truth that most different distilleries use rye from out of state.

Lastly, I used to be instructed this can finally be extra extensively distributed as Wilderness Path continues to raise the age of their stock. Positive, that takes time, however contemplating Wilderness Path is already the 14th largest bourbon producer on this planet I’m positive we are able to count on extra well-aged whiskey from them before later. Now finally, let’s get into the assessment!

Wilderness Path Bourbon Aged 8 Years – Assessment

Coloration: Darkish honey

On the nostril: Fruit flavors burst out of the glass because the piquant aromas of raspberry and strawberry swirl about with recent almonds, wealthy oak, and leather-based like the sort you would possibly discover on a well-crafted Chesterfield sofa. Given a while a little bit of cigar ash, pastry dough, and vanilla ice cream develops which provides some spectacular depth to the nosing expertise.

Within the mouth: Once more, the fruit makes the preliminary impression because the style of juicy strawberries prepared the ground earlier than vanilla ice cream followers out over the tongue. That vanilla word is especially distinguished and serves because the spine for the oak, waffle cone, and almond notes that emerge at midpalate earlier than receding which permits a slight cigar smokiness to affix crème brûlée and a contact of white pepper on the end.


I believe it is a launch that delivers on all of its promise. As somebody who has lengthy loved Wilderness Path whiskey within the four-to-five-and-a-half yr vary, I’ve all the time been curious to see how it could evolve given some extra time within the barrel and the result’s a extra pronounced and richer expertise. The fruitiness is on full show and pairs completely with some wealthy vanilla and different prototypical bourbon flavors together with some surprising delicate smokiness. Wilderness Path’s use of staves that bear a 24-month air seasoning coupled with a decrease barrel entry proof actually optimizes the flavour they’re in a position to pull from the oak and makes for a splendidly well-rounded expertise. I might maybe prefer to see a bit extra of a spice word from this “excessive rye” bourbon so as to add to the complexity of the pour, however that’s merely me splitting hairs as it is a launch worthy of any bourbon fan’s consideration.

Rating: 7/10

Lead picture and pattern courtesy of Wilderness Path, which doesn’t have an effect on our notes or scores.

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