We’re kicking off Bourbon Heritage Month with a look at Hood River Distillers’ Trail’s End. This is an 8-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon finished in Oregon oak. The whiskey is non-chill filtered and bottled at 90 proof and available for $49.95.
As this is a Kentucky bourbon produced in Oregon, it’s safe to assume this is sourced or contract distilled. I wish it were a little clearer on the label, but’s neither here nor there. That said, there is no apparent label deception happening here. What’s important here is how it tastes.
They’re not giving up a mash bill, but do state there is 10% rye. The unique Oregon oak barrels used to finish this bourbon are toasted to a medium level.
The nose is slightly aromatic, with wood spices and floral notes hitting first. Dig a little deeper and notes of sweet buttered corn, candied peaches, and a touch of fresh mint make themselves known. There’s even a hint of sandalwood. Taste-wise, the whiskey features some interesting notes. A maltiness hits the palate first, quickly developing into spicy sandalwood, nuts, and orange peel. Creamy butter toffee and Mexican chocolate soon take over in the mid-palate. The finish features chocolate-covered hazelnuts and a touch of spice.
Off the top of my head, I don’t know of another bourbon that tastes quite like this. Trail’s End is defined by notes of chocolate, nuts, and aromatic wood spice. I would have to give credit to the Oregon oak for that. I like it. A lot, actually. It’s defintely good enough to sip on its own, but would make for an interesting Old Fashioned. Maybe with some cherry or chocolate bitters? Looks like I’ve just given myself some homework.
In the meantime, Trail’s End is unique enough to stand out in the continuously growing crowd of bourbon releases, and comes happily recommended! 8/10
Thanks to Hood River Distillers for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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