Skip to main content

Wolves Whiskey Releases Newest Expression Called Winter Run

Last year, the first release from new brand Wolves Whiskey sold out quite rapidly, something which founders James Bond (co-founder of Undefeated) and Jon Buscemi (founder of Buscemi) hope to repeat. This year’s release is called Winter Run, and like last year’s it’s a blend of various whiskeys, mostly distilled by master distiller Marko Karakasevic of Charbray Distillery. This year’s release is a blend of the following: whiskey distilled from stout beer aged in French oak for eight years, whiskey distilled from pilsner beer aged in new American oak for five years, rye whiskey (not distilled by Karakasevic), and a single malt whiskey aged for nine years in used French oak.

wolves whiskey
Wolves Whiskey

Yes, this is basically another celebrity-fronted whiskey, although not of the caliber of, say, The Rock’s new tequila venture. It’s questionable how much these fashion mavens actually had to do with selecting the liquid that you will find in the bottle, although according to Buscemi they were very involved. “We took some cues from First Run while incorporating a really earthy single malt,” he said in a prepared statement. “I like single malts all year round but enjoy them most in the colder months. It took a lot of work to get this right, but the result is special and I’m happy we were able to crank out a few more bottles this time in production.”

The availability of this bottle is extremely limited (1,338 available) and it is priced exorbitantly at $185. It’s safe to presume there are many who will buy it who know little about whiskey and a lot about sneakers; moreover, it’s reasonable to question whether the presentation is absolutely necessary — “chocolate espresso” Italian sheepskin leather is wrapped around the French-cut bottle, the cork is made of maple wood, and the whole thing comes in a hand-stitched canvas sleeve.

But — and this is the most important thing — the liquid inside the bottle is truly very interesting, and a good example of the creativity that is currently going on in the world of American whiskey outside of the bourbon sphere. To be clear, this won’t appeal to everyone. There’s a pronounced skunky hops flavor that hits you up front, with strong notes of dark chocolate, toasted nuts, and espresso on the palate, while the nose is all caramel and toffee. Overall, this stands out from other whiskeys in the crowded American field, and it’s nice to find people with some money to spend looking beyond MGP to source their whiskey.

Wolves is available now while supplies last at the Wolves Whiskey website, as well as via Flaviar.

Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker is a freelance writer who covers booze, travel, food, and lifestyle. His work has appeared in a variety of…
Isle of Raasay Distillery Gears Up for Inaugural Release with Final While We Wait Single Malt
isle of raasay new scotch whisky single malt distillery glencairn  2

In Scotland, the whisky industry is still dominated by the old guard, distilleries like Glenfiddich and Laphroaig that date back to the early 19th century. Though there is nothing that even comes close to the craft distilling scene that we have here in the U.S., there are some upstart distilleries that are attempting to make their mark on the single malt Scotch whisky field. One such distillery is the Isle of Raasay Distillery located on, you guessed it, the Isle of Raasay just off the east coast of the Isle of Skye. This is the first legal distillery on the island, and its inaugural release whisky is due to be released this Christmas. This lightly peated single malt was aged in ex-bourbon barrels and finished in first fill Bordeaux red wine casks, and will be bottled with no added color and non-chill filtered.

In the meantime, the distillery has also been releasing installments of its "While We Wait" whisky, a single malt that is meant to show the journey from new make spirit to aged final product. The fifth and final release of While We Wait, which ships to 21 states in the U.S., came out a few months ago, a blend of peated and unpeated whiskey finished in French oak Tuscan red wine casks. We had a chance to catch up with Raasay cofounder Alasdair Day to talk about opening a new distillery in Scotland, the evolution of the whisky, and how the distillery has been coping during the pandemic.

Read more
A Comparison of 3 New Batches of Barrel Strength Whiskey
Whiskey in a glass

Whiskey fans love to dissect their favorite releases, deciphering what flavors and aromas they can pick up on the nose and palate as they somberly consider just what makes the whiskey so good (or bad). And one especially fun way to do this is when whiskey is released in batches, from year to year or sometimes several times throughout the year. This way, you can really compare and contrast the difference between the casks selected to see how the differences in proof, age, and other factors affect your perception. And this is particularly when it comes to barrel proof whiskey, which truly captures the character of the liquid. Here are three recent barrel-proof whiskeys, each compared to its previous incarnation to see which comes out on top.
Templeton Rye

The difference between the 2019 and 2020 editions of Templeton's Barrel Proof Rye makes itself known with the first sip. The 2019 version of this 95% rye-sourced from MGP is slightly higher in proof -- 115.8 compared to 2020's 113.1. But the real difference is revealed on the palate. 2019 starts with a cherry blast, followed by big spice notes, with some cocoa to chase it down. 2020, on the other hand, is all about caramel and vanilla, with the baking spice flavors and even some menthol taking a supporting role. Overall, I found the 2020 to be the superior batch, with a slightly sweeter and softer palate and a silkier, more satisfying mouthfeel.
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

Read more
Kentucky’s New Riff Distillery Has Released a Peated Bourbon and Rye
New Riff Distillery

New Riff is a newcomer to the Kentucky whiskey scene, but has made quite a name for itself already. The bourbon and rye it distills are both bottled-in-bond, meaning they are at least four years old and bottled at 100 proof. The mash bill for the bourbon is high-rye (65% corn, 30% rye, 5% malted barley) while the rye is 100% rye (with 5% malted rye). The latest additions to the lineup are two whiskeys called Backsetter, a bourbon and a rye that use peated malt in their production. The whiskey is also bottled-in-bond and not chill filtered. New Riff co-founder Jay Erisman said that this project came about back in 2015 in a sort of understated fashion. "I wish I could say there was some grand, overarching strategy to make an absolutely unprecedented whiskey," he said, "but really it was a matter of a creative, intrepid team of distillers at a young distillery determined to make a new riff on an old tradition. Backsetter is a collision of old and new; a cover tune, perhaps of a Scottish Hebridean reel filtered (or rather, unfiltered) through Kentucky bluegrass and a Marshall stack."

The name Backsetter is really just a reference to the classic Kentucky sour mash process, where a portion of the stillage left over from distillation is added to the next batch, kind of like a sourdough starter. "We strain off a portion of the stillage, and 'set it back' to add into the next mash," said Erisman. "This is called (in old time Kentucky distilling parlance), 'backset.' Some 25 percent of the liquid content of a mash consists of backset. What makes these Backsetter whiskeys so unique is the nature of that backset: it was from a peated malted barley distillation."

Read more