Potomac Wine and Spirit’s Wilderness Trail Single Barrel bourbon is immediately sweet and spicy with caramel, malted grain, vanilla, oak, cinnamon, peach, and apple. Even though it’s so young, there’s a nice fruitiness that I don’t normally find in such young whiskey, which is usually more oaky and peppery. The cinnamon and nutmeg spice build as it sits in my mouth briefly, but is buoyed by a viscous mouthfeel, herbal anise, and heat that actually isn’t that intense. 56.5% ABV is no joke, but it’s restrained here.
With “chewing”, I taste a burst of honey, caramel, vanilla buttercream, cherry, orange, apple, bread, cinnamon, oak and just a hint of dry nuttiness, licorice, and chocolate. This Wilderness Trail single barrel bourbon packs big and bold sweetness with supporting ripe fruit, oak, and wood spice, all delicious. The fruitiness of all things is most surprising for me, something not often found in bourbon under 5 years old. Even with all that rye, it mainly provides an underlying but still noticeable herbal quality and light grassiness, but the licorice pops right as I swallow. While there is some heat as expected for the proof, it’s truly manageable for something this young and gives me more time to “chew” and taste all the flavors, as well as let the tannins build. I’m impressed with the layers that are there, but they don’t evolve with additional time, but that will come with age.
On the finish, I taste malty and slightly sweet bread with a little heat that continues into honey, citrus, apple, oak, toasted bread, and mint. Honeyed licorice shows up late to the party after a minute, lightening up the finish and ending with a lengthy and gentle honey and mint muddle. “Chewing” leaves toasted bread, honey, dried orange peel, cocoa, licorice, and mint. It’s a little more tannic this time around, but not overpoweringly so, as the oils coat my mouth. The licorice and anise from the rye also come through more this time. The finish is unexpectedly very long, so I’m pleased.