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Wolves Whiskey crafts classic American-made whiskeys with complex, unique flavor

What makes Wolves Whiskey so good? We find out

Wolves Whiskey Single Malt
Ninou Gaul

If you like your whiskey old-school, Wolves Whiskey is for you. It’s American-made, distilled right in California, and represents a throwback to the classic standards of spirit craftsmanship. Aptly put, the brand claims it “alchemizes the old into the new.” You pretty much have to hear the brand’s process to believe it, but it’s the truth, as resident interviewer Dan Gaul discovered during a candid talk with the brand’s Operations Manager and Head Blender, Eduardo Gonzalez.

An Interview with Wolves Whiskey: The Story Behind the Craft Distillery

As with any luxury whiskey, Wolves’ has a Master Distiller, Marko Karakasevic. To blend a new batch, he crafts small distillate batches of 10 barrels over ten days, sleeping in four-hour shifts. He does this so that he can make each cut, selecting a pure “heart of hearts” for double distillation in a smaller still. That distillation process is not efficient by any means, but it results in a more flavorful and robust blend — packed with body and viscosity.

The blends are then aged with just the right amounts of Pilsner, Stout, and Rye whiskey adjustments for balance. According to Wolves,’ that can take many attempts and up to a few weeks to get right.

When the final batch is ready, it’s cut with mineral-rich water from the Russian River. The result is an elegant, full-bodied whiskey packed with nuanced flavor, no matter what blend Karakasevic is working with. However, the presentation and packaging of Wolves’ whiskeys are just as remarkable as the unique process. Every bottle is wrapped by hand with auto-grade vinyl and Italian sheepskin. Meanwhile, the French-cut glass allows the sheepskin label to rest flush against the glass, and the cork top is beautiful maple wood. Attention to detail is certainly Wolves’ strong suit. And you’ll even hear Dan Gaul praise the wonderful bottle and label design during the interview. Let’s dive right in and see what the gentlemen had to discuss.

Learning the Gonzalez and Wolves’ Whiskey history

Wolves Whiskey Charbay distillery
Wolves Whiskey

After introductions, Gaul jumps right into the discussion by asking Gonzalez about his background, particularly what led to his career with Wolves Whiskey.

“My passion really started during my time in the hospitality industry. You know, growing up in the industry surrounded by great food, great drinks. The interest in spirits really came naturally. I made it a point to learn as much as I could about spirits, [and took] a super deep dive into it,” he says.

It might not be a natural trajectory for someone involved in the field, but as Gonzalez describes it, it makes a lot of sense: “After diving into a couple of different [spirits], whiskey really resonated with me. It really led me to pursue the knowledge that’s required in my career position.”

More to the point, Gonzalez found himself drinking with one of the very founders he’d be working alongside later.

“After bartending and serving whiskey for a couple of years, one evening, I found myself sitting at a bar, enjoying a drink next to a founding member of Wolves. That quick drink led to an awesome conversation about American whiskey and what I thought about the category. That passionate conversation led to a job offer, eventually,” he says.

It’s inspiring to see that passion and love of the craft, and Gonzalez opens up a little more about that experience.

“I loved every second of it. It was an incredible, incredible happenstance.”

Gaul asks, “How long have you been at Wolves?”

“Three and a half years now.”

They talk about whiskey, in general, and Gonzalez shares his spirit growth from the early days of drinking various beers to more luxurious options — like Wolves’ American-made Whiskey.

How did Wolves’ Whiskey start, and what’s the core mission behind the brand?

Wolves Whiskey new blends being tested and crafted
Wolves Whiskey

“Wolves’ Whiskey really began as a shared respect and love for American whiskey among the founder group,” Gonzalez says. “We had a genuine interest in creating something really unique in the category. With that want to create something exceptional and unique, whiskey has long been driven by tradition in the United States. We wanted to do something really interesting and alchemize the old into the new and build the luxury standard bearer in the category. To us, that meant building a product and brand that returned [to that] set of values, with a celebration of instinct, skill and ritual, and uncompromising quality.”

“I want to taste the whiskey for what it is…”

Wolves Whiskey The Malted Barley Series from interview with Dan Gaul
Wolves Whiskey

About midway through the interview, the two compatriots open their bottles and pour. On deck is Wolves Whiskey’s Malted Barley Series, an 11-year American Single Malt — distilled in 2012 and bottled in 2023.

Before Gaul empties the beautiful amber whiskey into his glass, he asks how Gonzalez recommends serving it.

“I drink my whiskey neat,” he says. “My idea behind that is it goes into the bottle, especially when I’m trying a new whiskey. I want to taste the whiskey for what it is before I alter it in any way.”

It’s a solid recommendation. In fact, we can already hear whiskey and spirit connoisseurs letting out a collective sigh of relief and respect.

But make no mistake: this is a stronger blend, and it’s not watered down in any way. They even discuss the high-proofing.

“At 110 Proof, it’s gonna shock your palate. So let’s do it, let’s be ready for it, and then let’s taste,” Gonzalez says.

“But it’s not shocking afterward,” Gaul notes. “That burn is gone.”

“Yeah, it’s like jumping into the pool. You’re only cold for the first few minutes,” Gonzalez agrees.

Gaul notices that Gonzalez is drinking from a unique glass.

“You know what, tell me why you’re drinking from a wine glass versus a glass like mine?” Gaul asks, as he holds up a traditional rocks glass.

“It’s personal preference,” Gonzalez explains. “I’ve done the Glencairns, I’ve done a glass like yours, I’ve done it all — I’ve drank from anything you can think of. When it comes to me, this all-purpose wine glass — typically for white wine — I like the way it feels. I like the way it sits. And when it comes to nosing, your nose fits right in there, and it kind of directs the whiskey towards your nose.”

He then explains why he likes the wine glass’s open design, particularly for picking up many of the nuanced notes. One of his first steps for trying a new whiskey is to nose it like you would a wine. He does this in full view of the camera while also calling out some of the delicious flavors of the whiskey he has poured.

“That first taste is gonna shock your palate,” he warns. “Let that coat your mouth and shock the palate. And then you get into it, and then you get into it again; before that, I like to nose it. Just get in there with that mouth open [and experience it].”

Wolves Whiskey is a must-try

We highly recommend watching the full interview. The candid conversation between Dan Gaul and Eduardo Gonzalez covers many interesting topics, even beyond whiskey and tastings.

One thing is clear towards the end. The entire Wolves’ Whiskey team is dedicated to crafting delicious, complex blends that are American-made. While they are a throwback to classic whiskey and distillation techniques, they still offer something unique. That level of uniqueness and exclusivity is just something you have to taste on your palate.

If you’d like a primer before trying the whiskey yourself, you must see these two gentlemen explore their tasting experience on camera. The flavors they describe are divine.

Briley Kenney
Briley has been writing about consumer electronics and technology for over a decade. When he's not writing about deals for…
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