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Wolfburn Northland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Wolfburn Northland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

$94.99 Per Bottle

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$94.99 (Buy 1 or More)

46.0%
Caithness
700ml
+
BOTTLE(S)
Winery Direct: Dispatched in 3-5 days.More info
$94.99
46.0%
Caithness
700ml
  • THE BRIEF
  • THE FINER DETAILS
  • WHO MADE IT?
  • EXPERT REVIEWS
  • THE BRIEF
  • Named after the crystal clear waters that feed the distillery (Burn is the Scottish word for stream), Wolfburn is the northern-most distillery on the Scottish mainland, located in Thurso, Caithness. Built on the same site as the original Wolfburn Distillery, which was operating in the 1820s, the distillery went back on spirit in 2013. Headed up by Shane Fraser of Glenfarclas fame, and Iain Kerr from Glenlivet, Wolfburn is an exciting new addition into the Scotch malt whisky landscape.

    Northland is Wolfburn's first expression (previously simply called Wolfburn).Released in 2016, and aged for a minimum of 3 and a half years, Northland's appeal comes from the unhurried distillation process that Shane Fraser uses. It's this dram that has received considerable praise from a number of the whisky trade's heavyweights.

  • THE FINER DETAILS
  • Clear wort is drawn off and fermented for 75 hours, before being double distilled, first through a wash still, then a spirit still, over a lengthy four hours. The result is a light, sweet spirit with almost zero impurities.The smooth and warming flavours present in Northland come from the unhurried way in which the spirit is made, and from the maturation, which takes place hand-selected Islay quarter casks. Matured and bottled on site, Northland represents the first chapter in the history of Wolfburn. Non-chill filtered, bottled at 46% ABV.

    WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT?


    Initially sweet with notes of fruit and fresh sea air. In the background you'll find citrus freshness and hints of cereal, and just a trace of peat smoke. Sweet, nutty tones come to the fore on the palate, with hints of grapes and honey in the background. Floral flavours abound, enhanced with just a hint of dried fruit and spice.

  • WHO MADE IT?
  • “I continue to be blown away by this newcomer.” Dave Broom, Scotchwhisky.com
    “The building of a new distillery, no matter how romantic its location or story, does not guarantee good whisky. So I am delighted for those involved in such an exhausting project as this that a very good whisky is exactly what they have on their hands.” Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2017
    “For all its youth, the excellence of quality glimmers from the glass: a malt as beautifully flighted as a cricket ball delivered by the most crafted of spinners. It offers delightful turn on the palate, too.” Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2017
    In January 2013, the residents of Thurso, on Scotland’s rugged north coast, might have noticed an unfamiliar perfume in the air—a sour, yeasty aroma that would have been well known to their ancestors. Of course it was the smell of grain being ‘mashed’ in preparation for distillation and aging on the way to becoming single malt whisky. The last time whisky was made in Thurso there was a price on Ned Kelly’s head—dead or alive. Yet today the malt stills of Wolfburn – the mainland's northernmost distillery – are firing again.

    “Freedom and Whisky gang thegither!” Robert Burns

    No bottles, nor barely any records, of the original Wolfburn whisky survive from the 19th century. From what little the archives show, Wolfburn distillery was at the time one of the largest producers in Scotland. All would have been consumed within the borders of Caithness, such was the demand for ‘uisge beatha’ (the water of life) by the locals. Few, if any, bottles made it down the rutted road or over the seas to Edinburgh’s Georgian drinking houses. And if any did, they’ve long since been drained.

    In early 2013, thanks to the passion and investment of small band of malt fanatics, the new Wolfburn distillery went back on spirit, barrelling their first ‘new make’ on Friday, 25th January 2013 (Burns Night). Fed with natural spring water from the still flowing Wolf burn (Wolf stream), the bespoke distillery lies just 350 meters downstream of its historical location on Thurso Bay, overlooking the turbulent waters of the Pentland Firth and the imposing cliffs of the Orcadian Island of Hoy. Today, Wolfburn remains the most northerly distillery on the Scottish mainland, usurping Old Pulteny in Wick by around 10 kilometres as the crow files.

    ‘It’s the whisky I’ve always wanted to make’.

    Wolburn’s primary distiller was Shane Fraser, whose impressive CV starts off at Royal Lochnagar Distillery, as a rosy cheeked 16 year old. Since that time he had gained over 25 years experience in the pursuit of fine single malt Scotch whisky. After three years at Oban he became distillery manager with J&G Grant (one of Scotland’s larger independent distillers) where he was responsible for ensuring the continued quality of the prominent Glenfarclas range. Fraser has since moved on to a distillery in the US, with ex-Glenlivet man Iain Kerr filling his shoes. In fact, Kerr, who joined Wolfburn back in 2013, has been production manager at the distillery for many years—so it’s a case of business as usual.

    Having carte blanche from the early stages of the project allowed Fraser and Kerr to tailor the distillery and its state of the art equipment to craft their dream single malt. As you might imagine from a stand alone, independent, start-up distiller, Wolfburn’s craft-like distillery has little to do with the world of Big Whisky (which controls roughly 80% of Scotland’s distilleries)—and even at this early juncture the small scale and attention to detail shine through in the in the spirit. ‘As a rule of thumb, if you put good spirit into good casks you won’t go far wrong – and that’s been our philosophy from Day 1’, says Fraser. I like how he puts it. The malt whisky industry is often shrouded in romanticism but Fraser plays it with a straight bat. Great whisky has everything to do with the skill and knowledge of the distiller, the quality of malting, and many other details. As Andrew Jefford describes it, it’s ‘…the architecture of a washback, the shape of a still, the interstices of a condenser. The place which matter is the place where it all happens: the equipment’. Perhaps we’re romantics, perhaps it’s our wine background, but we do like to think that there’s also something in the air that makes a difference too. Either, way, geographic place, equipment and skill: Wolfburn score highly on all counts.

    Whisky crafted the old way; no automation, no rush and a lot of care.

    Using un-peated malt, the Wolfurn stillmen use a 1.1 ton mash, and draws off clear wort, which is then given a long fermentation - around 75 hours, 50% longer than average. Fraser explains, ‘…at 50 hours there’s no more alcohol to be made, but the’ yeast is still active. Allowing it to work for longer releases some lovely sweet and floral flavours.’ The wash is then slowly double distilled in traditional copper pot stills, specifically designed and handcrafted by coppersmith Forsyths of Rothes. The liquid first passes through the wash still (5,500 litres) and then through the spirit still (3,800 litres). Wolfburn’s distillation time is a lengthy four plus hours, during which the harsher, more sulphurous compounds are stripped out; resulting in a lovely light sweet spirit, with almost zero impurities. Kerr aims to protect the delicate volatiles he generates via the extended ferment throughout the distillation and maturation, and into the finished whisky. Once the distillation is complete the whisky is left to mature on site in hand selected casks that are stored using traditional dunnage methods; on their side, bung up, on stows, never higher than three. Wolfburn’s whiskies are never chill filtered nor coloured.

    Barely six years have passed since Wolfburn Distillery laid down their first cask on Burns Night 2013. And yet the more we taste from this fiercely independent producer, the more excited we get. If we ever have any doubts as to why we moved into spirits, or, more precisely, why we chased so hard to get the agency for an (at the time) unknown producer, the whiskies below are a definitive reminder!

  • EXPERT REVIEWS
  • DAVE BROOM - SCOTCHWHISKY.COM


    Aged in quarter casks (from an Islay distillery) to give a quick boost to a young spirit. I've been impressed with Wolfburn's quality from the word go and this doesn't disappoint. One to watch.'

    JIM MURRAY - WHISKY BIBLE


    For all its youth, the excellence of quality glimmers from the glass: a malt as beautifully flighted as a cricket ball delivered by the most crafted of spinners. It offers delightful turn on the palate, too.'

    ACCOLADES


    Gold Medal - International Wine & Spirit Competition Hong Kong, 2016 Gold Medal - World Whisky Awards, 2017