The lineup of Trail’s End 8 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, a project from Hood River Distillers (HRD) and Clear Creek Distillery, has expanded once again. A few years back the Hood River, Oregon based distiller released its Trail’s End 8 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and just last year it released its Trail’s End 10 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Now joining this lineup is the brand-new Trail’s End 8 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Apple Brandy Barrels. As the name implies, this new Apple Brandy Finished whiskey is brings a bit more of what Clear Creek Distillery is known for to this Kentucky distilled whiskey.
Since its inception in 1985, Clear Creek Distillery has been at the forefront of utilizing Pacific Northwest grown fruit to produce its award-winning brandies. Three years ago, it produced an elegant apple brandy, Old Delicious Double Bourbon Barreled Apple Brandy, that is delightful neat or in cocktails.
On this new variation of Trail’s End, the distilling team at Clear Creek finishes its Trail’s End 8 Year in these former Apple Brandy barrels. This new offering brings together two American spirits with apple brandy dating back to 1640, well over 200 years before the introduction of Bourbon that went on to become America’s spirit.
Trail’s End 8 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Apple Brandy Barrels is even more nuanced than its siblings. This one was aged for eight years in charred new American Oak barrels. From there it is finished by the distillers at Clear Creek in their own apple brandy barrels, creating a bridge between the HRD brand and Clear Creek’s.
Here are the tasting notes from the distillery.
Nose: Warm September sweetness on the opening. Reminiscent of pie crust, maraschino cherries, flat cola, and late Summer petrichor.
Palate: Oaky and herbal, like barley tea sweetened with manuka honey. Tastes of pipe tobacco and red ale on the mid palate finish in a ghostly bitterness imparted by the barrel’s waning char. The transition is honest and stark, the space it creates encourages a deeper draw from the glass.
Trail’s End 8 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Apple Brandy Barrels is 105 proof and retails for $49.95 per 75mL bottle in Oregon. It can be located by using the Oregon Liquor Search.
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.