Whiskey Review: Wolves First Run

By Jeneen Bell / September 27, 2019

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Wolves Whiskey. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review

Wolves First Run is a unique whiskey which you’ll want to share with your friends (or covet to yourself). What makes it so different is the combination of stout whiskey, pilsner whiskey, and rye whiskey blended together in one delicious bottle. Most importantly, it’s not a flavor profile that many of us are used to. Which makes it a bottle I’m delighted to share with friends. You can be pretty certain it will surprise and intrigue them!

Wolves is a collaborative effort bringing together James Bond and Jon Buscemi, well-known fashion and design creatives, with Marko Karakasevic, 13th generation master distiller of Charbay. They tested over 50 barrels and 19 blends to land on the right blend.

I’ve tried hop flavored whiskey before but have not found it to my liking, so I appreciate the addition of stout whiskey and rye. I think they help create a fuller, richer mouthfeel.

The packaging has some unique features. Most notable is the Italian sheepskin leather label. It’s very soft to the touch and makes pouring from the bottle a smooth experience. The idea behind the sheepskin is that it’s a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,”just like the name.

The 53% ABV seems like a near-perfect strength. There is enough heat to provide you with that warm sensation, yet allows all the flavors to come through without the need to add any water. I personally didn’t think adding water improved it. Since this is such a limited edition whiskey, I’m not likely to add water or drink large quantities anyway. I’d like this bottle to last several months with many small pours.

Wolves First Run

Wolves First Run (image via Jeneen Bell/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Wolves First Run

Vital Stats: 53% ABV/106 proof. This is a blend of three whiskeys: stout whiskey aged 8 years in French oak, pilsner whiskey aged 5 years in new American oak, and NAS rye whiskey. 750 ml bottle retails $150.

Appearance: The whiskey has a clear, rich gold-copper color. The thick round glass bottle has a textured maple wood top with synthetic cork. The label is made of soft sheepskin leather, which nests in the bottle inset.

Nose: It has a warm, spicy aroma. while sweet notes of honey, maple, and cherry shine through.

Palate: This whiskey has layers and is quite complex. It starts out with pronounced flavors of burnt toffee, cloves, and dates. There is also a hint of smoky, pot dispensary and pot cookie smell (I live in Oregon, where it’s legal). The finish is long with chocolate malt notes.

The Takeaway


Unfortunately, as I write this, I hear the First Run is already sold out. But, if you do get a chance, I recommend it. But if you don't, then it will be good to keep your eye out for future releases. In short, this whiskey is complex, unique, and fun whiskey to spend time tasting.

User Rating 2.83 (12 votes)