In 2011 the founders of Wolfburn Single Malt Whisky travelled to Thurso in Caithness, the most northerly town on the British mainland, in search of the old Wolfburn distillery. After 150 years of neglect, what they found of what was once one of the largest whisky producers in the county was a pile of old stones.
The only thing that remained was the flow of water that once fed the mash tun and stills all those years ago. The team were convinced that if the water was still there, then the whisky could be too.
In May 2012, the purchase of the land was finalised. By January 2013 the new Wolfburn distillery was complete and on Burns Night, a cask of Wolfburn whisky – the first for nearly 150 years – was laid down in Thurso. Using unpeated malt, master distiller Shane Fraser and his team have crafted the latest incarnation of Wolfburn whisky from a blank canvas by pot still distillation, the old way; no automation, no rush and a lot of care. The worts are fermented for roughly 75 hours, allowing the yeast activity to mellow the wash, releasing a series of floral notes that carry through to distillation and maturation and are present in the finished whisky. The spirit is double distilled, slowly, first through the wash still and then through the spirit still, which were specifically designed and handcrafted by coppersmith Forsyths of Rothes. Once the distillation is complete the whisky is left to mature on site, in Spanish and American oak casks that are stored using traditional dunnage methods; on their side, bung up, on stows, never higher than three.
The end result is a famously smooth, full bodied, and enjoyable whisky bottled at 46% abv.
Available from the 14th March, Wolfburn Single Malt Whisky is wonderfully unique in flavour. It’s light and fragrant with aromas of fruit, malt and a hint of peat, sweet and nutty on the pallet, leaving a pleasant flavour of smoke in the mouth.
The Inaugural bottling, crafted from the very first casks from the new Wolfburn distillery, is truly something for collectors and connoisseurs. Limited in number to 875 bottles (100 for the UK market), each individually numbered and engraved, and presented in a hand-made oak box. The whisky inside was selected by Shane Fraser specifically to become Wolfburn’s first. Using long fermentation, long slow distillation, and matured in hand-selected casks, it is genuinely something special.