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Wolfburn distillery returns to life after 150 years

Published:  04 March, 2016

The first whisky to be released in 150 years from the Thurso-based Wolfburn distillery will hit the UK market next month.

Distributed by Amathus Drinks, the reborn distillery is releasing its Wolfburn Single Malt and a limited edition Wolfburn Inaugural Special Edition Single Malt.

The new state-of-the-art Wolfburn plant is situated a little downstream from the ruins of the original site.

Its first whiskies were laid down on Burns Night, 2013.

Wolfburn's master distiller, Shane Fraser, has over 23 years' experience in single-malt production.

Fraser began his career at the Royal Lochnagar Distillery, and has also worked at Oban Distillery and J&G Grant, where he oversaw the Glenfarclas range.

Fraser is using unpeated malt for Wolfburn, creating his whisky through traditional pot-still distillation techniques.

The worts are fermented for roughly 75 hours, allowing the yeast activity to mellow the wash, before being double distilled through first the wash still and then the spirit still, both of which were handmade to bespoke designs by coppersmith Forsyths of Rothes.

The whisky is matured on site in a range of ex-bourbon and sherry casks using traditional dunnage methods.

Fraser said: "My very first thoughts on what kind of spirit Wolfburn should be were that it should be a light and fragrant spirit.

"This would come about by a number of key processes; slow drainage of the mash tun to give a clear wort; long fermentations and a gentle distillation but keeping the spirit collection above 20°C."

The whisky is described as having aromas of fruit, malt and a hint of peat, and as being sweet and nutty on the palate, leaving a pleasant flavour of smoke in the mouth.

Wolfburn Single Malt is bottled at 46% abv and will retail at £44.95.

The Wolfburn Inaugural Special Edition Single Malt shares the same abv, but is limited to a worldwide release of 875 bottles, only 100 of which will be available on the UK market.

Each bottle is individually numbered and engraved, and presented in a hand-made oak box.

It retails at £200.

The Wolfburn logo derives from a drawing by Konrad Gesner, the 16th-century Swiss naturalist whose 4,500-page Historiae animalium is widely considered to be the first modern work of zoology despite including many mythical animals such as the unicorn and basilisk.

The drawing is thought by some to represent a sea wolf, a creature that could walk on water and sightings of which brought good luck.