Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
It only follows that if whiskey can be artistic, then whiskey can be fashionable. As with high-end clothing, whiskey has its well-known labels, rare drops, and celebrity brandings. Similarly, it’s a field where scarcity and hype impart a sense of status onto some expressions. It’s easy to see the parallels between bourbon enthusiasts entering lotteries to buy new bottles of Pappy van Winkle and sneakerheads lining around the block for a shot at the latest Air Jordans. (I don’t know if they’re still making Air Jordans. I know very little about sneakers.)
Wolves Whiskey has a strong feel of high fashion. Founders James Bond and Joe Buscemi both come from a luxury sneaker and street fashion background. With this in mind, they’ve positioned Wolves, in their own words, as a “luxury whiskey brand.” You can feel this luxury in their hand-wrapped sheepskin labels, their limited releases through digital storefronts, and the involvement of master distiller Marko Karakasevic.
Karakasevic, a 13th generation master distiller, built his reputation through his work at Charbay Distillery. After joining, he created the distillery’s first craft whiskey, taking inspiration from microbrewery culture. He distilled craft beers in a copper alembic pot still, aiming for a different profile than the heritage brands of Kentucky and Tennessee. The result was “hop flavored whiskey,” a new category with a wholly unique profile. Since then, he’s continued to experiment with different craft beers, and Charbay’s whiskeys are a cult favorite among connoisseurs who enjoy atypical profiles.
Wolves blended Lot One from a selection of barrels which Marko Karakasevic distilled in 2015.
It’s currently common for private labels to create expressions through reliable mega-producers like MGP. Wolves choosing to work with Karakasevic is a bold move, which signals a desire to have a distinct identity and explore whiskey as a concept. It shows an off-beat spirit which feels very on-brand for culture mavericks with a street fashion background. Lot One exists at a confluence of craft and fashion, and I’m intrigued as to what kind of taste will occupy this space.
Tasting Notes: Wolves Lot One
Vital Stats: 55% ABV. Mash bill: 100% malted barley. 110 Proof. MSRP 300 USD.
Nose: The scent has a deep vinous quality, with qualities of sherry and cocoa. As the scent opens, I can pick out stout beer, with hints of vanilla and honey.
Palate: The taste is immediately sharp, like a stout beer with the strength of a 110 proof whiskey. It has a stewed, spicy mouthfeel that’s rich in malt and hoppy flavor. It seeps deeply into the palate for a strong, high-proof finish of chocolate and cigar box wood.
Whiskey Review: Wolves Lot One
This is a unique whiskey, in the best possible way. This was my first exposure to one of Karakasevic’s whiskeys, and I can see why Charbay’s expressions are such standouts. The strong malted quality and deep flavors are unlike anything I’ve tasted before. I won’t say it’s my favorite taste, but it’s such an excellent realization of this style that it has the potential to be someone’s favorite taste.
It’s a different way for whiskey to taste, while still feeling like a proper American Single Malt whiskey. If you can find a bottle, I recommend it. It will be one of the most interesting things on your shelf.
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Taylor is a writer, researcher, and whiskey enthusiast. He came to Portland in pursuit of higher education, and found himself staying to pursue the Pacific Northwest's wide range of olfactory offerings. He's a fan of craft beer, farm to table food, indie perfume, and, most of all, whiskey. While he...