The hubby and I recently took a day trip to Danville, Ky and while we were there we made our first stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, a new-ish subset of The Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour includes micro-distilleries that dot the Kentucky countryside and make bourbon the way the Kentucky forefathers did it – in small batches.
Our stop on the Craft Tour trip was at Wilderness Trail, a relatively new distillery (opened in December, 2013). They call themselves the first legal distillery in Danville – cracked me up!
I have to admit that we were slightly disappointed when we pulled into the parking lot. If you’ve ever been to visit one of the “big guys” in Kentucky Bourbon, you’ll know what I mean. It’s a small facility in comparison and we had to adjust our thoughts. Here’s the outside of the building…
We went on in and I’m so glad we did… because it was one of the better tours we’ve had on the Bourbon Trail.
Side note – you might notice “Wilderness Trace” on the building there. Due to some similar name issues, they are re-branding and are now Wilderness Trail.
The tour started off in their tasting room. Our extremely knowledgable and friendly tour guide (Jerod Smith) introduced us to Wilderness Trail and told us all about their small batch craft Bourbon business.
One of the things that really stood out to me was how they locally source every single thing that they can. AND they only use non-GMO, all organic grains to make their products. Their corn comes from a farm that’s less than three miles away. Other than the bottles and the corks, everything that goes into making their spirits comes from within ten miles of the distillery. Talk about shopping local!
Because they just opened in December of 2013, all of their Bourbon is still in barrels (but we still got to sample – read on!). They are currently producing about 2-3 barrels of bourbon a week and hope to increase to four-six soon.
Did you worry that there wouldn’t be samples at the end? Not to worry. They also make vodka and rum.
Not being big vodka fans, we were reluctant to try the vodka but we figured “When in Rome…” and gave it a shot. And we were both glad that we did. Their vodka was different than anything we’d tried. It is an equal blend of local corn and wheat (unfiltered).We liked their vodka (Blue Heron) so much that we actually took a whole bottle home with us!
We also sampled the rum (Harvest Rum), which is made with locally sourced sorghum molasses and aged in Kentucky Bourbon barrels. Because I am no rum aficionado, I think they will describe it much better: “…using the molasses processed from the cane sorghum allows it be classified as a US Gold Rum but it is not like your typical cane sugar rum. The process starts with squeezing the fresh cut stalk to get all of the sweet juice before that is cooked down to remove the water and impurities the old fashion way, by hand and by Danny himself. The spirit is offered at 90 proof and slightly aged for several months in used Kentucky Bourbon barrels from Four Roses, creating a sweet finish and great sipping rum.” Good stuff!
We enjoyed our first stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Craft Tour and will definitely be visiting the rest over the next few years.
Tours are currently offered:
Thursday and Friday: 10am-4pm, starting at the top of each hour
Saturdays (April – December): 10am-3pm, starting at the top of each hour
Saturdays (January-March) – first and third Saturdays only
Tours are $7/person. (price is current as of July, 2014)
Wilderness Trail Distillery is located in Danville, Kentucky – 445 Roy Arnold Ave
Disclosure: We did receive free admission for our tours as part of a day of Danville exploration that was sponsored by the Danville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. The fact that we spent $30+ on glasses and vodka should tell you that our free admission did not sway our opinions on the tour though :).