Review: Wolves Whiskey (Winter Run)

I love whiskey. Regardless of the type of whiskey, I absolutely enjoy the wonderful aromas and flavors I get in just about every glass. I’m always on the lookout for different, and though new expressions or single barrels are always hitting shelves, they sometimes tend to taste a bit homogenous. I don’t mean that in a bad way. Instead, I use it as a descriptor. For example, I know single barrels of say, Elijah Craig for example, are going to be different, but at the end of the day it’s still going to taste like Elijah Craig. And I like Elijah Craig, but sometimes I want something different.

Cue Wolves Whiskey. Back in May 2019, the first batch of this new whiskey was unleashed on the world. Made from whiskies distilled from beer, Wolves Whiskey was like nothing I’d tasted before (and before you ask, no, I haven’t tasted anything from Charbay).

The “Winter Run” batch of Wolves Whiskey only produced 1,338 bottles. Master Distiller Marko Karakasevic (from Charbay) distilled three of the four whiskies that make up this batch:

  1. 8-year-old whiskey distilled from stout craft beer, aged in French oak
  2. 5-year-old whiskey distilled from finished Pilsner beer, aged in new American oak, char level 3
  3. 9-year-old malt whiskey distilled from two-row malted barley, aged in used French oak
  4. rye whiskey (Whisky Advocate reports this is from MGP)

The resulting whiskey was cut to 52% ABV (104 proof) with “mineral rich water of Mendocino County”. Like last time, the bottle is wrapped in Italian sheepskin leather… a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The nose features hints of hops, vanilla, dried fruit, and honey with a slightly floral undertone. The palate starts out sweet. Lemon cake and almonds meet hops and rich cocoa. A touch of oak spice and tobacco leaf develop on the back-palate. The long, bright finish features orange peel and sweet hops.

When I say this whiskey is different, I mean it. It’s rich, hoppy, and a bit citrusy. There was definitely a lot of care and attention that went into the distillation of the component whiskies, but the finesse of putting together this blend deserves a standing ovation. The Wolves team (James Bond and Jon Buscemi) should be proud of this release. I dig it more than the first blend, which from memory was more hoppy and a bit spicier. “Winter Run” feels more complete and rounded. Well done! If you’re interested in a bottle, you’d better order one from or now before they’re gone. The first batch sold out rather quickly.

Thanks to Wolves Whiskey for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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