Review: Wolves “First Run”

When James Bond (Undefeated) and Jon Buscemi (Buscemi, Truff, Oliver Peoples) decided to get into the crowded whiskey game, they knew they’d have to produce something interesting. Enter Wolves.

The duo teamed up with Charbay distiller Marko Karakasevic. Charbay is known for distilling beer instead of a traditional mash. The difference is the presence of hops. For the most part, Charbay’s releases have been well-received. It’s easy to see why Bond and Buscemi went in this direction.

Press materials state the Wolves team tasted more than 50 barrels and went through 19 different blends before landing on their first release – “First Run”. This 898 bottle run is comprised of three different whiskies distilled in a copper alambic charentais pot still, the kind used to distill cognac. The three whiskies are:

  • 8-year-old Stout whiskey matured in French oak casks
  • 5-year-old Pilsner whiskey matured in new American oak casks with a number 3 char
  • Rye whiskey

Wolves “First Run” was cut with Sonoma County water and bottled at a hearty 106 proof. The California whiskey then is lightly filtered. It’s presented in a beautiful bottle with a Italian sheepskin leather label. Fancy.

So, how does Wolves “First Run” hold up in the glass?

Young rye notes dominate the nose initally, eventually allowing sweet caramel and hops to shine through. Citrus adds a bit of freshness. The entry is creamy with hints of chocolate-covered orange peel, cigar box, spice, and hops. It’s got a slight sour beer quality in the mid-palate. The finish is long with hints of orange peel and rye spice.

The Wolves team certainly delivered an interesting whiskey. It’s different enough to stand out, but flavorful enough to become a cult hit. I didn’t think I’d like this whiskey’s hoppy quality. To be honest, it threw me off a little at first. By the third or fourth sip, I became a fan. The the decision to add rye was a smart one. It cuts through the richness of the whiskey by adding a some spice and vibrancy. I can’t wait to see what they release next.

Wolves “First Run” is available only at ReserveBar.com and Flaviar.com for $150 a bottle. I recommend this whiskey for adventurous imbibers. 8/10

Update 06/06/2019 – Wolves “First Run” is sold out. You can sign up here to be notified of an upcoming second run, soon to be announced.


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