American By Nino Kilgore-Marchetti / June 10, 2019 Sneaker moguls (yes there is such a thing) and so-called brand powerhouses James Bond (Undefeated) and Jon Buscemi (Buscemi, Greats, Truff, Oliver Peoples) recently decided to hop lifestyle categories and try their luck at whiskey. Normally, such a move might be seen by those of us in the industry as of possible questionable consideration; but, in this case, they actually have a super legit master distiller in their corner and what looks to be a popular and interesting looking brand to consider. What’s been dubbed as Wolves Whiskey, according to those behind it, is a self-proclaimed “California Whiskey” brand (there is currently no type of designation for this beyond their marketing) that was created by Bond and Buscemi in conjunction with 13th generation master distiller Marko Karakasevic, who is normally known for being at the helm of Northern California-based Charbay Distillery. For this project the initial whiskey he created, known simply as “First Run,” is a blend comprised of a whiskey double distilled from a craft stout beer, aged for 8 years in French oak; a whiskey double distilled from a craft pilsner beer, aged in New American Oak for 5 years; and a rye whiskey selected for its spice to round out the finish. Wolves Whiskey (image via Wolves Whiskey) Of note around Karakasevic is that each small, bespoke batch of distillate is created over a 10-day period, having been double distilled on a rare Alambic pot still, imported from Cognac, France – one of only 5 in the United States. It is also said that the Wolves team sampled more than 50 barrels and created 19 test blends at different ratios and proof contents before settling on a 106 proof expression. “I wanted to sip something with my people at my house that was truly different, something you couldn’t find anywhere else,” said Buscemi in a prepared statement. “When we found the Master Distiller in Northern California, we knew we found what we were looking for, for our first release. He’s an artist. We brought some special Rye to the table and blended a juice that is balanced and rich.” Each bottle of Wolves Whiskey First Run, in keeping with the artistic flair of the Wolves team, is wrapped in Italian sheepskin leather, which is hand cut, embossed, printed with UV light, and laid flush to the glass by hand. The bottle is heavy, French-cut glass, and the cork top is made of maple wood. Should you want to seek out a bottle of this whiskey, the first allocation of 898 bottles is already sold out I’ve been told, though each had a high retail price of $150. Plans are in the work for future releases though. Very limited official tasting notes from this expression suggest that the nose is “slightly sweet, toasted vanilla, citrus” and that, on the palate, one finds “dark chocolate, citrus, tobacco, oak, allspice, creamy mouthfeel.