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November 2021 - Wolfburn Visit

For November we were lucky enough to welcome another distillery to our midst, this time from Scotland. Mark from Wolfburn paid us a visit, kindly making the 663 mile journey from Thurso to Sudbury! Wolfburn is the most northerly distillery on the mainland UK, harking back to 1821, but in that guise only lasting 30-40 years. In 2012 it was rebuilt from scratch. See the below video for a time-lapse of the internal installation -


From the outside it is self-admittedly ‘one of the ugliest distilleries in Scotland’!


All casks and bottles are hand filled, to ensure that the process is closely watched and also maintains that it is an artisanal product rather than a mass produced automated production line. They will never be in supermarkets and would encourage your local wine or spirit shop to stock their bottlings.

Their symbol is the seawolf; the sea-wolf is a mythical creature said to bring good luck to all those fortunate enough to see it.


Now, without further ado, onto the whiskies - as like last month we have a whopping SIX different expressions to taste! (You may also notice that the notes become briefer and briefer as we progress - the number of whiskies may have contributed to this!)

 

1. Wolfburn Northland

(70cl, 46% vol)


This was released in 2016, from casks filled only in 2013. This is obviously a very short maturation, with the intention of getting the Wolfburn spirit out there and generating cashflow. So the decision was made to rack these in 2nd fill ex quarter casks - the smaller size increases surface area of the wood, thus accelerating the maturation process to get a rounder spirit in a shorter time.


Nose: Orchard fruits, rich autumnal fragrance, nutty, creaminess, citrus and orange.

Palate: Subtle smoke (the casks are ex Laphroiag this Wolfburn malt has not been plated, but is influence by the previous occupant), honey, slightly bitter burnt caramel, bit of spiciness.

Finish: Spice continues, with citrus notes


Generally well received by the club, especially once the price was known.


£40 direct from Wolfburn


 

2. Wolfburn Aurora

(70cl, 46% vol)


We are tasting the whiskies in chronological order, so this expression was the next creation - a sherry finished bottling as this is perceived to be almost mandatory to have a full range offering. This particular edition is 25% Olorosso casked spirit, 75% first fill bourbon.


Nose: Fresh, honeysuckle, spring, green.

Palate: Creamy, sweeter, subtle spice, simpler than the Northland

Finish: Lingers with wood spice


This received quite mixed plaudits, some absolutely loved it despite the overall group low score. Mark eluded to the fact that the mix of sherry:bourbon finished spirit may be shifting to 50:50 in the future to really ramp up the sherry flavours, I am sure we will be very interested to try this when it is in circulation.


£45


 

3. Wolfburn Morven

(70cl, 46% vol)

Created from a mixture of 1st fill bourbon and ex quarter casks from Islay, while also carrying lightly peated malt from Wolfburn’s own drying process.


Nose: Light and woody, piney with a sap quality to it, smoke is subtle

Palate: Gentle, buttery peat, light spice but nowhere near as aggressive as the first two drams

Finish: Gently creamy smoke


Peated whiskies are usually quite divisive in the group, so for this whisky to score a 4 is a testament to a lovely balance of subtle peat with Wolfburn’s distinctive core flavour profile.


£45


 


4. Wolfburn Langskip

(70cl, 58% vol)

Named after the Viking longships as a reference to the Norse history in the Thurso area, Langskip is a cask strength expression, choosing 58% as a bit of fun because the distillery sits at 58° latitude!


Nose: Full, fruity (dark), muscovado sugar

Palate: Big marzipan, Considering ABV not a great deal of burn

Finish: Lingers beautifully


Went down a storm, always good to ramp up to a cask strength as they can be a bit oppressive from the off! But 3 drams down this one was a real treat.


£50



 

5. Wolfburn Small Batch - No. 318

(70cl, 46% vol)

All of the small batch bottlings carry the number of their warehouse and stow (row) to create a unique batch number. The founders and staff of Wolfburn have a proud military and policing heritage, so naturally these numbers are more than just arbitrary numbers - they all relate to types of ordnance! This particular bottling was from Warehouse 3, Stow 18 - thus creating No. 318.


This is another lightly peated creation, containing 10ppm, which is then placed into Olorosso casks. 4,800 bottles produced.


Nose: Floral, like a ramped up version of the Northland

Palate: Leathery, Sweet Werther’s Original, fig, rich dried fruits

Finish: Warm syrup lingers


Not quite as popular as the Langskip, but still met with a solid approval by the club.


£64


 

6. Wolfburn Quarter Cask Father’s Day 7yo 2021

(70cl, 54.2% vol)

This is a limited release for Father’s Day 2021, which it seems Wolfburn have now started as something of an annual tradition. Again using ex-Islay Quartercasks to impart the subtle peatiness that Wolfburn seem to enjoy conveying. Limited to just 980 bottles this is the shortest batch that we have tasted on the night.


Nose: Green apples, liquorice, syrupy

Palate: Rich and mouth filling, grapes, honey and oak

Finish: Vanilla, sweetness and a subtle peat


Overall not quite as well received as it’s predecessors, but still a solid malt nonetheless.


£70



 

We would like to thank Mark for making the lengthy trip down to visit and proudly show us a selection of Wolfburn’s ever-expanding range. We hope to welcome him back in the future as the range expands of this relative newcomer that is making headway in the industry.

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