Wolfburn distillery broke ground in August 2012 and released their first Whisky in 2016. Since the beginning, it was important to the Wolfburn team that their Scotch was made in a slow, unhurried fashion. From milling to bottling, no automation is involved. Everything is done on site by hand.
Wolfburn uses a mix of first-fill Bourbon, Sherry, Rum and Port casks to age their drop. And you can imagine, each imparts their own flavor in the Scotch. Which is how their three main bottlings—Northland, Aurora and Morven—came to fruition.
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The new Wolfburn stands next to the Wolf Burn stream. But an original Wolfburn, located 350 miles away, was once a behemoth of the 1800's, cranking out 125,000 liters per year according to tax documents from the era.
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West of Thurso in the far North of Scotland, the intrepid can find the Wolfburn Distillery. There, in the cool winds whipping off the North sea, visitors can watch ferries shuttle passengers from Caithness to Stromness, on the Orkney mainland.
A distillery of the same name was built in 1821, closing some time in the middle of the century for unknown reasons. The distillery was marked on a survey conducted in 1872 as ruins. The modern Wolfburn was approved for construction in 2012, 350 miles from the site of its predecessor.
Production began the following year. Wolfburn released its first single malt in March of 2016. Wolfburn is taking a philosophical stance in its production, eschewing the trappings of modern automation in favor of certain traditional methods.
Using long fermentaiton, extended, manual distillation and maturation involving casks which once held Islay peat monsters, Wolfburn's process prepares the make for a distinguished and exciting expression.
CountryUnited Kingdom, Scotland
No. of stills1 wash, 1 spirit
AddressWolfburn Distillery Henderson Park Thurso Caithness KW14 7XW United Kingdom
A transcript for non-audio situations
I was doing tour guiding in the distillery and I did that for six months when I was sixteen in 1990 and then I was offered a job, full-time at Royal Lochnagar Distillery. And 28 years later, I'm still making Whisky so time flies when you're having fun.
Traditional mash tun, fermentation vessels and still... so it's a kind of balanced distillation process. A very very slow process... We're never in any hurry at Wolfburn. So, mashing is very slow. We don't drag any solids through into the washbacks. Long fermentations give us a good, big flavour profile. And then the same with the stills. We do a lot of copper interaction in the stills with the liquid so it's got a nice light, kind of fragrant Spirit which basically comes out in the Whisky at the end. So, there's only four people that work here. So it's very small but we do it the correct way. We do it the right way. So it's pretty special.
It's very sweet. A wee bit nutty-ish... And you get some citrus, kind of, coming through as well, some fruity notes as well. That's what I get off it. My first instinct when we took our first three or four Spirit runs off the stills it was like Weetabix with hot milk in it. A very, kind of, malty smell......and I still get that to this day, so we're keeping the Spirit the same. We do the same thing every week. Sounds boring, but it's the way to make consistent Spirit.
Well we've just released Langskip... ...which was in September. So that's 58% Bourbon barrel release, so it's on sale now. We're doing a small release of poppy bottles to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War. So there's 1918 bottles of that. In the next 2-3 weeks it'll be going out.... We've got a few new single cask releases and we've got the autumn bottle that's going to be for sale in the distillery, as well. So please come to the distillery and buy one.
It has been Northland....from the very beginning but I really quite like Marvin as well it grows on me. I'm not a peated Whisky fan but it's got just the right balance so it's growing on me very quickly.