Wolfburn Distillery is located in the town of Thurso and is the farthest north distillery on the British mainland, with records dating back to the Viking era.  At that time, it was under Norse Orcadian rule and a major gateway to Scandinavia and the Northern Isles. The area is fringed to the north and east by dramatic coastal scenery and is home to internationally important colonies of sea birds. 

“Burn” is the Scottish word for creek, and “The Wolfburn” is the creek that the distillery uses as a water source. The original Wolfburn Distillery was founded in 1821 along the same waterway and was at one time the largest producer of Whisky in Caithness County, but it was shuttered around 1860.

In May 2011 one of their current team went to locate the site of the old Wolfburn Distillery. After 150 years of neglect, what they found was a barely discernible pile of stones, but one thing remained from the yesteryears of Wolfburn distillery; the water. The cold clear waters that fed the mash tun and stills all those years ago were still flowing just as they always had, and if the Wolf Burn was still there, then they reckoned the whisky could be, too!

A short walk downstream from the old site they found a small flat piece of land carpeted with thistles. They could take just a little of the water each day and once again turn it into whisky. The purchase of the land was finalized in May 2012 and the first ground was broken a few months later in early August. Things were on the move, plans were being drawn up, equipment was being sourced from far and wide and by the end of September the structures of the new buildings were beginning to take shape.

The new distillery was constructed with the help of Forsyths, whose name is known predominantly for the high-quality copper stills the produce, and John Fraser, formerly of Glenfarclas, the original Master Distiller for Wolfburn. John has since moved on, but most of the distillate we have in bottles was produced under his guidance.

The production team at Wolfburn is tiny, about 5 people, and literally everything is done by hand. They produce unpeated Whisky ten months out of the year and lightly peated distillate (about 10 parts per million) for two months. The distillery uses a South African yeast geared toward a fruitier, brighter flavor profile and their fermentations range between 75-90 hours, while industry standard is around 40 fours. Longer fermentation typically allows deeper, more nuanced flavors to develop. Most of what they produced up to this point is Non-Age Statement, and at their typical core bottlings are about four years old. But they’ve racked up awards around the world for their NAS Whiskies, and have started bottling older, special release productions that are beginning to show what they can really do as a distillery. This month we are featuring their oldest bottling released in the US to date, No. 318.



Wolfburn Single Malt No 318 Small Batch

Region / Country of Origin:  Scottish Highlands

About the Distillery: Wolfburn was founded in 2011 and began laying down distillate in 2013. They are the farthest north distillery in the British Mainland. They are a small production facility and were designed to be efficient as well as traditional, and there is no automation, so everything from milling to bottling is done on site and by hand with care and attention.  Long, slow fermentations and slow, careful distillation leads to an incredibly high-quality spirit that is now starting to get some serious age and special cask treatment. While they’ve already racked up many awards for NAS (no age statement) whisky, expect great things from Wolfburn and their juice gets older.

About this bottling: Batch No. 318 is lightly peated spirit matured for seven years in first-fill Oloroso sherry butts combined with spirit matured for seven years in first-fill bourbon barrels. Only 4800 bottles were produced. This is the first Special Release from Wolfburn that uses a peated spirit and is also the oldest whisky we’ve had available from them in the US. As with everything at Wolfburn, this whisky is non-chill filtered and no color is added.

Tasting Notes: Lightly peat smoke on the nose with bright fruity and floral undertones. Sweet, honeyed Bourbon notes layered with orchard fruit.

Rich, bright and fruity on the palate. Gently smoky throughout with a lingering, peaty finish. Fruit and floral notes layered with oak and baking spices. All the components show well: Bourbon, dry sherry, floral/fruity base spirits are all apparent, but are also well integrated and create a cohesive drinking experience.


Cask Type:

First Fill Oloroso Sherry Butt and First Fill Bourbon Cask 

Price per bottle: $125/btl


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