Wolfburn is a newer distillery from the Highlands…
So the story goes, once upon a time there was a Wolfburn distillery based in Thurso, Caithness that was founded in 1821 by William Smith that time produced approximately 1,25,000 litres a year… yet ceased operations sometime in the 1850s. Though the old distillery is long gone, the folks who founded Wolfburn 2.0 in 2013 based it in a similar location to take advantage of the water from the Wolf Burn.
Our host was captured by the quality and character of its new make spirit and has been a believer in the distillery ever since.
And what did we think?
- Nose – Hard boiled sweet, bubble gum, cherry, pure sugar with red dye, white grape, honeyed ham
- Palate – Peat, very sweet, a bit of spice, sweetened condensed milk
- Finish – Bitter sweet
- Water – No temptation to add
Truth be told, we found it almost too sweet… for me it almost reminded me of being matured in a cognac cask like Brenne… The peat has a light touch… a mere 10 ppm.
While there are no official tasting notes on the Wolfburn website, the chaps over at Master of Malt have something to say….
A late 2017 addition to Wolfburn’s core range, Morven is a lightly peated single malt from the northernmost distillery in mainland Scotland. This expression rounds out the distillery’s range well (which also features their signature Northland Single Malt and the handsomely Sherried Aurora Single Malt) and shows that the relatively new distillery has plenty to offer already.
- Nose: Fresh notes of juicy apple and white grape are deliciously juxtaposed with earthy, mineral-y peat.
- Palate: Nutty malt pairs well with soft smoke, joined by peppered oak and caramelised fruit developing later on.
- Finish: Sweet hints of shortbread and ginger stick around on the finish.
Just to contrast we decided to try the Wolfburn Aurora side by side…
- Nose – Sweet, yoghurt, capsule, over-ripe pineapple, boiled sweets
- Palate – Sweet spice, could there be some light smoke too?
- Finish – Liquorice
- Water – Again, no temptation to add….
This was much more our preferred style… still sweet but in moderation with enough other elements to hint at a character worth waiting to see its future avatars.
And what do the folks at Wolfburn have to say?
MELLOW AND GOLDEN
This beautiful sherried whisky is made from spirit laid down in a combination of American oak and Spanish Oloroso sherry casks. Benefitting from long fermentation and slow, gentle distillation, the spirit is laid down on site in our purpose-built warehouses. At the end of the maturation process the casks are brought together to create an exceptionally smooth and perfectly balanced dram.
We had to wonder, where is the light peat from? Our host shared that while the malt is unpeated, it is matured in an ex-Islay cask for a “kiss of peat”… making for just a hint not more.
What else did we try in our “Sinful Samples” evening?
- Bunnahabhain 24 year (1990) 51%
- Tullibardine 228 Burgundy 43%
- Zuidam’s Millstone (1998/2016) Olorosso Sherry Cask #2530 55.5%
- GlenDronach 21 year (1993/2014) 58.1%
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