Age: No age statement
Northland is the first ever bottling from Wolfburn distillery and celebrates the moment its spirit could proudly proclaim itself whisky at three years old. Established in 2013, Wolfburn is the northernmost distillery on the Scottish mainland. It’s located near Thurso (the gateway to Orkney) on the site of a former distillery of the same name. Although that distillery has long since disappeared, the burn that supplied the water is still there. The Wolf Burn now provides the input for an unusually long distillation. Wolfburn’s pot stills are on the small side, meaning the increased contact with the copper results in a very pure, smooth spirit. Northland was aged in quarter casks that previously held Islay whisky (my guess is Laphroaig?), so we’ll hopefully be able to detect some traces of smoke on this Wolfburn. The packaging feels quite premium and depicts a cool looking sea-wolf, a creature from Scots and Norse mythology. The sea-wolf roams both land and sea and brings good luck to all those fortunate enough to see it. I always count myself lucky to see a good bottle of whisky, so perhaps there’s something to it.
Nose: Rather tart, as fresh green apples drift from the glass. Then a herbal fragrance takes hold, with bay leaves and sage diffusing into sweet breakfast cereal.Underneath it all is quite a yeasty character, like washbacks mixed with fennel, wet oak and autumn leaves. I’m not quite sold yet.
Palate: Light-bodied, with a healthy dose of sea spray. Floral notes of honey mingle with fresh wood shavings, before a dash of pimento lends a spicy hand. There’s a faint whiff of smoke, accompanied by liquorice and toasted almonds.
Finish: Fiery and quite pleasant. We’re left with an aftertaste of charred oak and a hint of figs.
Verdict: Northland is very smooth for such a young whisky. It might lack a bit of complexity, but it’s a decent, solid dram at that. Although true to its coastal pedigree, there’s not much trace of the Islay casks that Northland has aged in. I would love to see a heavily peated expression from Wolfburn, although I should probably give Morven a try first. As for Northland, when you take into account this dram’s tender age, it’s actually an excellent whisky. I look forward to whatever else Wolfburn has in store for us, the distillery sure has a bright future ahead of it!
Value for money: 🤩🤩🤩