Tasting: Wolfburn 3 yo First Release

Wolfburn 3 yo First ReleaseDram data:
Distillery: Wolfburn
Bottler: Original Bottling
Distilled: 2013
Bottled: March 2016
Age: 3 years
Limitation: 16000
Casks: refill quarter casks
Alcohol: 46%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
It seems just like yesterday that the Wolfburn distillery way up in Thurso, in the north of Scotland, was constructed and started production. It doesn’t feel like it’s already a year ago that I paid them a visit. And yet here it is: Their first general release of a three-year-old Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Well, let’s get cracking and see how it turned out!
pale white wine
The nose opens on a waft of alcohol – it is bottled at 46% – with a hint of peat smoke from the maturation in quarter casks which previously held peated whisky. There are also notes of shortbread with sweet icing, vanilla pods, freshly ground malt, sweet grape juice and a slight grapefruit rind and juice tingle. The quarter casks did a great job on the clean distillate – no harsh youthfulness anymore. On the one hand it’s still young and fresh and it still has a long way to go to fully mature, but on the other hand I find it more interesting, pleasing and engaging than “standard” mass-market supermarket malts (even when they had age statements) so an 80+ rating springs to my mind – at least on the nose. The palate is slightly alcoholic and quite light on flavours on the arrival. When the alcohol fades, a slightly peaty, slightly barley-sweet alcoholic malt-based drink appears on the palate with a hint of vanilla and the influences of new-make still shining through. Not in a bad way, mind you, this is very drinkable and likeable, but the refill quarter casks will need more time to leave a stronger impression. But we’re on a good path here. The medium-long finish is surprisingly silky, oily and mellow upon swallowing with notes of malty sweetness, a hint of peat and a quick hello by the spirit.

Well, there you have it: A no-frills, no fancy finishing three-year-old Highland whisky from a clean and well-made distillate matured in refill quarter casks. This isn’t the most complex whisky ever, it can’t be, with the spirit character still shining through, but it is a well-made product with lots of character and very enjoyable as a daily dram in its current state. Oh, and very affordable too, I got the bottle in Austria for under 50€ which is the way it should be! I don’t regret for a second picking up one of these and thereby supporting what Shane and the guy(s) in Thurso are doing. Keep up the work – can’t wait to see what happens in the next 3, 5, 10 years!

Score: 80/100
(Nose: 82 Palate: 78 Finish: 82)

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