From Old Times To Reborn: Wolfburn 3yo

Wolfburn Distillery was a legend in the 19th century in Scotland. It was located in Thurso, Caithness, as the northernmost distillery in mainland Scotland. Wolfburn was founded in 1821 by William Smith. Water source was from Wolf Burn. "Burn" in Scotland means stream or river and this was reason why the distillery was named Wolfburn. The annual production according to tax record was around 125,000 litres in 1826. However the distillery production ceased suddenly in around 1850s without known reasons and there was no record of the exact closing day. The distillery was marked as a ruin in 1872 in the first Ordnance Survey Map.

The location of the distillery (Thurso), Source: Google Map

In 2011, the owners of Wolfburn travelled to Thurso to find the old distillery and planned to have the Wolfburn Distillery reborn. In 2012 the owners got the permission from authorities to rebuild the distillery and it was located at 350m from the ruins of the original distillery. The production commerced in 2013.

Speaking of the production facilities, Wolfburn has one wash still and one spirit still with capacity of 5,500 litres and 3,800 litres respectively. Wolfburn retained old way of production- long fermentation and slow gentle distillation. The fermentation time is longer than that of normal distilleries (up to 72hrs) to release the fruity and floral characters that can be carried to the finished product as a delicate whisky. The spirits are matured in combination of second fill American oak quarter casks, first fill American oak ex bourbon casks and first and second fill Spanish oak ex sherry casks cask.

The first batch of the Wolfburn whisky was bottled in early 2016 and available globally in March. It was the first production after 150 years since the unknown ceasing. A limited quantity of 62,000 bottles were produced for this 3 years old whisky. They had an Inaugural Special Edition bottling released at the same time. The limited 875 bottles were crafted from the very first casks from the distillery. The first batch production is now renamed as Northland in the signature range with American oak quarter cask maturation. Apart from Northland, Wolfburn has just released the second whisky in the signature range with a vatting of 20% Spanish Oloroso sherry cask into American oak named Aurora.

Wolfburn Single Malt Whisky (Northland), First Batch Production, 46%, American oak quarter cask, limited to 62,000 bottles

Picture source: Amathus UK website (www.amathusdrinks.com)

Appearance: Straw yellow-green

Aroma: First comes with lots of greens and mild sweetness: green apple, pear, mix of lime & citrus zest with a hint of grass and a touch of green bell pepper. Then some senses of youth in malt, dry hay, hint of yeast and hint of savoury. There are a touch of white pepper & black pepper mixture at the back of the nose. Very clean whisky that you can feel the freshness and youth.

Palate: Medium body, fruity and malty with lots of peppers first hitting. Green apple, pear, citrus, half-ripe green plums and white currants, hint of honey water, and a touch of grass, malt and lemon zest. Pretty zesty and chewy. There is quite a warm alcohol feeling in throat and mouth yet the body is fuller and rounder than expected.

Aftertaste: Medium(-) to medium length. Still with fruit driven of lemon zest, green apple, half-ripe white currants, a touch of malt and grass

Conclusion: Apparantly, the nose of this whisky is very young but palate has gained lots of points. It doesn't taste like only a 3yo whisky but much older like 5,6yo. I personally like a lot more the palate than aroma as the aroma has some grassy characters of Lowland whiskies despite it is from highland, probably because of its young age. Of course tasting a new and young whisky should "judge" with the system of young whisky. The nose of this whisky does remind me of a new make and would be really interested to taste the Wolfburn new make one day to feel the 'evolution' of the spirit.

However it has a lot of potential as a 3yo whisky. You can find a lot of characters in the drink with the complexity, pureness and freshness. The most surprised me is the texture of the body with the round and oily feeling at only 3 years old. I would to know and see how does it taste when it is getting older. Really looking forward to see the future launches of this reborn distillery!

Special thanks for my Danish friend Thomas for the sample! :) -81points

經過150年的停產,Wolfburn (台灣譯作沃富奔蒸餾廠)再次投產並在今年年初推出了第一批的威士忌,讓威士忌愛好者能品嚐沃富奔重生後的產品。

沃富奔在十九世紀是一間頗具規模的蒸餾廠,1821年由William Smith在蘇格蘭北部Caithness的城鎮Thurso成立,Thurso乃蘇格蘭本土中 (不計算島嶼) 最北部的小鎮,所以沃富奔就理所當然成為蘇格蘭本部最北的蒸餾廠,酒廠之所以名為狼奔,是因為酒廠的水源就是叫Wolf Burn, Burn在蘇格蘭蓋爾語的意思為溪流。根據1826年的稅收紀錄,沃富奔當時的產量已有125,000公升, 是Caithness最大的蒸餾廠。可是好景不常,沃富奔於1850年代突然停廠,沒有照片,沒有人知道原因也沒有實際的日子,而沃富奔蒸餾廠唯一出現在地圖上就是在1872年英國第一張Ordnance Survey Map,但那時候蒸餾廠已停止運作而且荒廢了。

直至2011年,沃富奔的注資者到達蘇格蘭北部沃富奔蒸餾廠的舊址,發現水源仍在,便有令蒸餾廠重生的打算,2012年有關當局批核了蒸餾廠的興建,現時沃富奔的生產主樓便是與舊址相距350米,於2013年開始生產威士忌,2016年年初裝瓶並推出首批的3年單一麥芽威士忌。沃富奔的生產是以傳統長時間發酵和慢蒸餾的方式生產,單是發酵時間便可長達72小時(網上也有其他資料寫75小時, 有待核實中),讓麥芽中的果香和花香慢慢滲出,釀造一款溫婉細緻的威士忌。

首批威士忌是用美國橡木1/4桶熟在,一共發行了62,000瓶,之後會繼續生產此款作為普款系列之一,並命名為Northland (北地的意思)。9月份全球會陸續推出另一普飲款Aurora (北極光,在蘇格蘭北部是頗容易看到極光的),在(加入了20%的雪莉桶威士忌的) 美國橡木桶熟成,我相信也會是令人期待的一款。

說回這款沃富奔,清幽的花香、清爽的草香和麥香令人宛如置身大自然:面前是一大片金黃色的麥田,大麥已經成熟農民正收割中,麥田的旁邊是綠油油的草地,草地上綻放著各式各樣的小花;手中拿著一杯鮮雜果汁(青蘋果、雪梨、青檸) 坐在田園中,一陣微風吹過,讓人心鄺神怡,與忙碌工作的農民相映成趣。隨之傳來是淡淡的鹹香和胡椒的香氣,是農舍家主人在烹調佳餚,準備大餐嘛?沃富奔的香氣就是年輕,清新脫俗,把農田和大自然的元素展現人前。

至於口感則與香氣表現得略有不同,同一個畫面但元素更豐富更溫暖。香氣的表現可能是早上8時的初秋,氣溫介乎於10至12度,感覺有點微寒;沃富奔的口感則是同一天陽光普照的中午,氣溫升到18度左右,一方面帶有田園氣色,另一方面加添了太陽的溫暖,田園中各大小生命都很活躍,好像忙著為嚴冬的來臨作好準備,農舍家主人則還在繼續烹調帶有胡椒香的佳餚;手上的特飲也有不同,除了上述青果外還加入了蜜糖、半熟青梅和白醋栗果汁,一小片連皮的檸檬放進特飲內作為裝飾,非常清甜。

沃富奔威士忌在150年後重生, 這位初生之犢有令人有眼前一亮的感覺,雖然餘韻略短,香氣感覺靠近低地的性格,但口感的表現卻非常複雜和出色,入口的那種圓潤感實在叫人驚喜,很難想像他只是一位初出茅廬,年屆三歲的小孩子,但卻有著小學生的表現和態度。有機會的話想看看他剛出生時的模樣,當然也會關注他往後的成長,我相信他會是一位很有天賦而且前途無可限量的學生!(特別鳴謝丹麥代理Thomas贈送的小樣) -81分

#Scotch #whisky #Highlands #singlemalt #reviews #Wolfburn

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