Sonoma, CA is known for making a lot of wine, but starting in 2017, a new distillery has come to town with aspirations of evolving the American whiskey scene even further. Wolves Whiskey, which was founded by Undefeated’s James Bond and TRUFF’s Jon Buscemi, will get a little push thanks to the recent Tax & Trade Bureau proposal which would set parameters for American single malt whiskey (in the style of Scotch whisky) for the first time as its own unique category. Next month, the Northern California distillery will debut its first-ever American single malt expression.
However, Wolves was prescient in its approach, acquiring a stock of 144 malted barley-based whiskey barrels as far back as 2011. They were then split up into lots ranging from 8 to 12 barrels and distilled in 2015 over a 10-day period in small alembic pot stills imported from Cognac, France dating back to 1983. Pot stills are preferred over column stills by many distillers for imparting bigger, bolder flavor profiles. This entire process was overseen personally by 13th-generation Master Distiller Marko Karakasevic who slept in four-hour shifts to make each cut along the way. After that, the whiskey was aged for seven years before bottling.
There are a lot of distilleries in the world, let alone the U.S., and few of them unveil as much information on a given batch or release as Wolves has with its debut single malt. And it’s the kind of transparency that makes you value a whiskey all the more before you even take the first sip. Lot One, as it’s called, consists of just 12 barrels — 11 of which were combined for a small-batch single malt expression bottled at 55% ABV. The 12th barrel will be bottled as a single-barrel single malt at a scorching 62.5% ABV, yielding only 228 bottles in total.
The single-barrel whiskey will retail for $350, while the regular single malt will be released in 6-packs for $289. Each bottle of the Wolves Malted Barley Series will be hand-wrapped in an embossed sheepskin label. Pre-sale starts March 30.