Lone Wolf Indies

With the industry's indie darlings getting picked off one-by-one over the last year, where do you go to find whisky that's still being made by the little guy? I should amend that statement: where do you go to find whisky that's still being made by the little and that's actually worth drinking? Two of Scotland's newer distilleries, Wolfburn and Kilchoman, have just released new expressions that I think offer unique, interesting, and well-balanced flavors for the Scotch drinker who's looking outside the corporate box. Wolfburn's sherry-aged Aurora is now finally here in the U.S. and Kilchoman's cask strength Quarter Cask release just hit the docks as well. Let's take a look...

Wolfburn "Aurora" Single Malt Scotch Whisky $59.99 - The Aurora differs from the standard Wolfburn expression in that there's no peat influence from the ex-Islay barrels and sherry butts were used in place. What's interesting is that the color is still quite light despite the use of Oloroso casks. The initial flavors are light and fruity much like one would expect from a Highland malt, but the sherry sneaks up on the finish with a late-coming wave of spice cake, cocoa, and toffee. It's another charming and utterly drinkable malt from an exciting up and comer.

Kilchoman "Quarter Cask Matured" Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky $99.99 - Bottled at cask strength 56.9% and finished in small barriques, Kilchoman has take a page from Laprhoaig's book and offered a quarter cask release, albeit at full strength. The result is everything you'd expect: big oak, big peat, big spice, big earth, and big vanilla. It's just a big, explosive whisky all around. It's everything you love and have come to expect from the little Islay engine that could.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll