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Wilderness Trail Distillery is forging a new lane for modern bourbon with traditional roots. Founders Shane Baker and Pat Heist are both leaders in the fermentation consulting business, having worked with distilleries around the world with their company Ferm Solutions. They took their expertise in the industry to make bourbon on their own terms that was up to their own rigorous standards. They focus on sweet mash, bottled-in-bond wheated and high-rye bourbon as well as cask strength rye. What makes Wilderness Trail unique among the other mammoth distilleries in the state is their commitment to meticulous quality throughout the process, starting with selecting only Kentucky-grown corn, wheat and rye for their mashbills. The grain then goes through an infusion mashing process, which determines the exact amount of heat needed to gelatinize starches without degradation of the quality of the grains, yielding a much softer and flavorful distillate when fermented with their proprietary yeast strains. Wilderness Trail is the first Kentucky distillery to embrace the sweet mash process as its sole mashing technique. As opposed to a sour mash, where acidic “backset” from a previous mash is added to the new mash to help catalyze fermentation, a sweet mash only utilizes fresh yeast for fermentation. This creates a softer, more flavorful final distillate. The rye mash bill was created for a broader balance of flavor to offset the typical high ryes commonly found. They use Kentucky-grown Heritage rye from a local KY Proud farm, and distillate enters new, air-dried #4 char, 53-gallon barrels at 100 proof and 105 proof and age until maturity in our barrelhouse. Rye Whiskeys are aged on the upper floors of the rickhouses for a minimum of 4 years with regular expressions expected to be between 6 and 8 years of age.