There was a time when W. H. McBrayer’s Cedar Brook was arguably the most popular Kentucky bourbon whiskey in the world. The McBrayer legacy was recently revived by his descendants using a recipe authored by “The Judge” himself and distilled via contract with Wilderness Trail.
Pour: McBrayer Legacy Spirits Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Age: at least 4 years
Nose: toasted vanilla wafer, grain, barrel char
Taste: smoky toffee, Cracker Jacks, dry baking spice
Finish: moderate length – singed molasses, clove, licorice
Overall: Despite employing a custom recipe, the Wilderness Trail DNA is prominent. McBrayer Legacy Spirits Bourbon is a well-enough sipper, though I’d prefer it had more time in the barrel. At $100 a bottle, it’s a tough spend for the non-history buff.
Rating: Court in recess.
50ml sample courtesy of McBrayer Legacy Spirits.
I first tasted Wilderness Trail Single Barrel Bourbon in 2019 on a trip to Kentucky. I had just wrapped up a barrel selection at Wild Turkey, so one could argue my palate wasn’t entirely fit for service. Now, it’s time to give this bottled-in-bond wheated bourbon a fair shot.
Pour: Wilderness Trail Single Barrel Bourbon (b. 16H29-8)
Age: at least 4 years
Color: dense copper
Nose: cocoa-hazelnut, caramel popcorn, dark baking spice
Taste: boozy toffee, charred oak, toasted brown sugar
Finish: moderately long – vanilla extract, black licorice, leather
Overall: While there are some profile notes hovering youthful, there are just as many (or more) well-developed notes offsetting them. Wilderness Trail Single Barrel Bourbon is impressive for its age; it’s just not ready for primetime. Not yet, but soon.
Rating: Almost there.
I was first introduced to Wilderness Trail in early 2019 with their bottled-in-bond bourbon. While a solid whiskey for the age (one I’ll revisit soon), it wasn’t a bottle I made immediate plans to purchase. But rye … wonders can be done in four years. So, I rolled the dice.
Pour: Wilderness Trail Settlers Select Rye (b. 15121)
Age: 4 years
Color: rich amber
Nose: lemon squares, vanilla frosting, citrus tea
Taste: “prickly” caramel drizzle, herbal spice, sweet mint
Finish: moderately long – singed orange peel, clove gum, bright pepper
Overall: To classify Wilderness Trail Settlers Select Rye as impressive is merely scratching the surface. This is an incredibly tasty, high-quality whiskey. Not a hint of one note I’d consider typical craft; not an ounce of regret buying this bottle.
Rating: So damn good.