A while ago I saw a blog post from Yoav G. about Wolfburn spirits. Since I have been following his whisky movements for a while I knew he hadn’t been to the distillery to get his hands on samples, which meant I could too.
They kindly sent me three of their samples: The new make at 69.7%, an 18 month old sample from an American Standard Barrel at 63.5% and a 22 month old sample from a 2nd fill Quarter Cask at 63.4%. I waited a while in publishing the reviews since I used the notes in a short article on Wolfburn in the Usquebaugh Society‘s magazine De Kiln.
Wolfburn New Make, 69.7%
On the nose it’s sweet as you would expect from new make, and a little ‘dirty’. Oily even. Scents of wet hay and fallen leaves in autumn. Slightly salty and pretty heavy, thick. Some lemon in the background but quite earthy
The palate is sharp but not as sharp as you’d expect from a spirit at nearly 70%. Lemon, alcohol, earthy and even some lime. Very dry with a slightly acidic, milky edge. Sweet, and the alcohol becomes more prominent.
The finish is quite long with hints of lemon and milk. Earthy, sweet, slightly cloying fruit and a spirity note of alcohol.
Wolfburn 18 months, 1st fill American standard barrel, 63.5%
The nose is a lot more calmed down than the new make, some hints of vanilla have already started to show. The lemon scent is more prevalent too. The oak added some spicy hints.
The palate is sharp and fierce, but warming. The oak influence already starts to show with some crisp spiciness. Peppermint perhaps. Lemon and straw.
The finish has more hints of oak, lemon oil and lemon peel. Quite long.
Wolfburn 22 months, 2nd fill Quarter cask, 63.4%
The nose is still quite spirity with earthy notes, but the oak influence is quite clear. Rather timid for a drink this strong and young. Maybe a tad more fruity than the other two samples, with hints of apple and unripe ‘Conference’ pears.
The palate is quite velvety and smooth with a small bite from the alcohol right after. Oak and old wrinkly apple. Pear peal, dry and spicy.
The finish mellows quickly and displays the oak even more. Much greener than I expected with a sudden flavor of plant stems and a hint of vanilla.
While they are clearly ‘not there yet’, I do find these samples very promising. They resemble the Highland style of whisky quite well, in my opinion. Also, I’m glad they didn’t hop on the peated-whisky-bandwagon. So many distilleries are going for a young dram with a mountain of peat in it that I find it refreshing that these guys aren’t doing that.
Especially the earthy tones and lemon appeal to me since I generally love such flavors. I’m also glad that the vanilla isn’t the supreme ruler of these soon-to-be-whiskies. I just hope they’re going to be affordable in another year or so!
It’s quite interesting, by the way, that drinks of this strength can be so smooth. I’ve tasted spirits that instantly turned your tongue to leather and made the inside of your cheeks look like the cliffs of Dover but these did no such thing. Way to go Wolfburn!
Oh, one more things that I find cool: They actually sent me different samples than they sent Yoav, which makes me believe they actually do draw cask samples for this kind of stuff!
Samples provided by Daniel at Wolfburn.