Monday, 31 July 2017

Newer Distilleries 1 : Wolfburn

This is the first in an occasional series about newer distilleries - mainly because I wanted to find out a little more about them and I thought if I wrote a blog entry - you could too!

The first entry is about the Wolfburn Distillery


Wolfburn Distillery is located in Thurso in the far North east of Scotland, it's the most Northerly mainland distillery.


Although there was a Wolfburn Distillery on the site in the 19th century, there is little trace of it or its whiskies still around. The present distillery was started in August 2012 with the first new make flowing in January 2013.

The name Wolfburn comes from the nearby Wolf Burn (stream) which supplies the distillery with it's water. Wolves were once a common site in Scotland and the logo comes from a woodcut by Konrad Gesner, a 16th Century zoologist.

Photo :

Photo :
Production process
Wolfburn have a great process diagram on their website explaining how their whisky is created.

Diagram :
Wolfburn have two traditional pot stills of 5,500 litres (Wash) and 3,800 litres (Spirit) with a weekly output of c 3,500 litres. There is no automation in the process.

Shane Fraser, the Master Distiller, decribes the new make as "Sweet and malty, like Weetabix with warm milk added" there is also some "Dried apricot but with a slight spice behind it, with a splash of water added it softens the aroma and I get more of a banana smell with a slightly perfumed background.”

The spirit is casked at 63.5% abv and matured in a mixture of 2nd fill American Oak Quarter casks (120 litres), 1st fill American Oak ex Bourbon casks (200 litres) and 1st and 2nd fill Spanish Oak ex Oloroso Sherry casks (500+ litres) and matured in dunnage warehouses on site.

Photo : John O'Groat Journal
Bottling also takes place on site, all of the whisky produced is non-coloured and non-chill filtered.

Photos : @Wolfburn_Whisky
Wolfburn currently bottles the:

Northland - matured in the Quarter Casks this is a fruity malty dram with a hint of peat. Bottled at 46%, priced at round £45-£50 for 700ml

Aurora - matured in the ex Bourbon and Sherry casks with is a sweet sherried nutty dram with a hint of spice. Bottled at 46%, priced at around £45-£50 for 700ml

Small Batch No. 128 (from Warehouse No.1, Stow No. 28) - matured in small 100 litre first-fill ex-bourbon casks, a lightly peated smoky dram with sweet honey. In case you don't know, I didn't, a stow is a row of casks in a dunnage warehouse!

Morven - a lightly peated whisky coming in September 2017. Bottled at 46%, priced at around £45-£50 for 700ml

Specially selected or experimental casks are also bottles as the Kylver Series.

Link to the distillery website

Link to the promo video

The distillery is open 10am - 4,30pm Mon-Fri with tours at 2pm. Weekend and holidays may be different - always a good idea to book in advance!

email :
phone : +44 1847 891 051 (note: the office is not always manned – email is the best way to reach them)

Sunday, 30 July 2017

#BlindTasting - Review

If you're reading this post you must have read my previous posts on our recent Series of #BlindTasting sessions Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 where @jwbassman_, @SpiritAndWood, @GentlemanGrimm and @WhiskyWings swapped some samples and blind tasted them!

Friday, 28 July 2017

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Spirit Of Speyside winners @TweetTastings

Last week I was lucky to be selected to take part in Steve @TheWhiskyWire latest @TweetTasting, this time is was 6 of the winners and runners up from the recent @Spirit_Speyside

Not the most exciting of un-boxing videos but more than made up by the contents and the lovely hand written letter!

@_littlebrowndog managed to sprint around Speyside on the day taking photos of each of the drams outside their native distilleries! Many thanks for allowing me to use them here!

@_littlebrowndog with the drams and the Spey

First up was:

@_littlebrowndog outside Aberlour

Nose: Loads of sherry on the nose - as you would expect! Lots of honey and dried fruit, if I didn't know better I'd think the Mrs was making Christmas Cake! After a little time in the glass  the nose develops with  chocolate hints and spice.
Palate: Smooth, tongue coating, you can taste the spice attacking your mouth followed by soothing sherry - yummy! A little water enhances this dram - honey and spice fill the mouth. A little dry biscuit develops but the sherry is always there!
Conclusion: A strong dram to start with and a really lovely one - liquid Christmas Cake - this is a typical sipping Speysider!

Next was:

@_littlebrowndog outside Tamdhu

Nose: On the nose - dried apple, a little honey and wood. A strong dram which just jumps out of the glass to say hello! There are some nuts and a little cinnamon over the top of the dried apples.
Palate: Quite drying on the palate - lots of toffee and a little orange, finishes with some spice - delicious!
Finish: This is a great dram - love the long dry finish, sprinkled nuts and spice over apples
Conclusion: Had this one a few weeks ago on a previous @TweetTastings Liquid gold - delicious dram!

Third up was:

@_littlebrowndog outside Cragganmore

Nose: Nose has a lot of perfume, strange but not unpleasant! Pears with a little sweetness may be pineapple? Not getting any smoke thought.
Palate: Disappointing, maybe because of the previous two? watery honey with a little smoke now!
Finish: Enjoying the smoke on the finish - this one would have been better to start with rather than the high ABVs
Conclusion: A new one for me, would maybe have been better as the first of the night?

Fourth was:

@_littlebrowndog outside Aberlour again?

Nose: Aniseed bullets straight out of the sweet shop! A little grass and some sherry! Getting the chocolate - maybe a cherry chocolate cake - now there's a plan! Getting some spice on the nose as it lingers in the glass - maybe some fresh black pepper?
Palate: Oily, mouth filling, an expected surprise. Melon and cinnamon with a touch on honey!
Conclusion: !

Fifth dram was:

@_littlebrowndog outside? Glenlivet

Nose: Grass and herbs, with a little spice - very nice! Develops after a while - still grassy but chocolate and ginger spice come through.
Palate: Smooth and buttery on the palate, some sweetness with a long honey finish. Very nice!
Conclusion: This is a class dram, develops over time - loved the loooong dry biscuity finish. 

Final dram of the evening was:

@_littlebrowndog outside the beautiful Glenfiddich distillery

Nose: The vanilla jumps out at you to start with, a little ginger - I think this one needs time to develop.
Palate: Creamy on the palate, slightly drying, some fudge and biscuit - with a chewy finish
Conclusion: A slightly underwhelming dram, expected a lot fmore but maybe as it was the 6th of the night following the stronger drams it was a little nose and palate fatigue! Will need to try again on it's own.

For me I think the first two won the @spirit_speyside competition - @TamdhuWhisky Batch Strength 2 only just 'nosed' the @AberlourVC A'Bunadh

Many thanks to Steve and Pery at Spirit Of Speyside for organising and all the other folks who joined in!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Paul John Brilliance (with a little help from Jason!)

A bit of an experiment with this blog entry! Can you believe what those vloggers spout on YouTube (or those bloggers on Blogger or Wordpress for that matter!)

So what I've done here is follow along a tasting which Jason has put on to YouTube - you can watch the whole review here or I've embed the more relevant parts here and added my taste-along comments below!

Please let me know what you think!

So tonight's dram in Paul John Brilliance

Intro to Paul John Brilliance


I agree with Jason on this one it's a lovely non-coloured Amber, in the glass it has very fast legs perhaps showing it's young age.


For me the vanilla hits you straight away with some creamy butter - similar to Jason, I also get a winey aroma, like a good red wine. There is a sweetness like what you get from biting into a piece of dried pineapple that's juicy in the middle then there is some green apple skin - my Grandma used to peel apples and throw the skin to the birds - I used to love eating it - it's very similar on the nose. Jason also got tropical fruits - Mango, papaya and sultanas - so a little different! We both got nuts - him almonds and pistachio but I get Christmas walnuts. There is a lovely spice which develops from the glass - Jason mentioned cinnamon and citrus marmalade, I was getting nutmeg.


Both of us loved the smooth buttery mouth coating honey from this dram, I got immediate spice like fresh ground black pepper followed by some chocolate flavours. Jason also got the pepper but instead of the chocolate he got spiced fudge (sounds yummy!), candied citrus and some barley.


We both agreed on a long warm spicy finish - definitely a winter warmer dram! I detected vanilla with some spicy Allspice and a sweetness left in the mouth. Jason also got sweetness with his honey and creamy vanilla.


Well first of all the whisky - it has taken a while for my appreciation of the Brilliance to grow, I think from all the 'hype' I read I was expecting a brilliant dram, but you have to remember that this is Paul John's entry level dram and when you think of it that way it is very good. I'm not about half way down the bottle and it has become a favourite - definitely a winter dram so sip around a real fire.

Finally other people's views - bloggers and vloggers! There's a simple answer to this - everyone's nose and palate is different and yes we might detect some of the same aromas and flavours they won't be identical. If I'd compared my thoughts to someone else we may have day different differences! So by all means read and watch what other people are saying about a dram but there's no subsistute for sticking your own nose in the glass and taking some of the beautiful liquid into your own mouth! Then you can compare and discuss with the rest of us!

Thanks to Jason for letting me 'borrow' his clips!

Monday, 17 July 2017

Sunday, 2 July 2017

The blind leading the blind #BlindTasting Pt1

A couple of us were talking on Twitter about the excellent #TweetTastings which Steve organises, his popular they are and how difficult it is to get a place.....