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Issue 112 - Claiming the title

Whisky Magazine Issue 112
June 2013


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Claiming the title

Scotland's northernmost mainland distillery

Long, long ago, if you wanted to locate a newly-built distillery in Scotland you just looked around for one or two of Mr Doig's distinctive pagoda-style kiln roofs where there hadn't been any previously.
But times change, and today a distillery doesn't have to look anything like the comfortable, historic structures so beloved by tourist board literature. Take Wolfburn, for example, the latest Scottish distillery to come on stream.

A postcode that leads to a business park on the outskirts of the Caithness town of Thurso, on the northern coastline of mainland Scotland, comes with the advance warning that “There's no signage, just look for the draff truck.”
So it is that Wolfburn distillery turns out to be an anonymous, modern, industrial building – an unassuming base for what is now Scotland's northernmost mainland distillery, having taken that mantle away from Pulteney in Wick.

Only the aforementioned farm trailer parked alongside to collect the byproducts of whisky-making gave a clue as to its real function, along with the structure's close proximity to the Wolf Burn, from which 10 cubic metres of process water are taken per day. The same water course also provided water for the long-demolished original Wolfburn distillery, which stood just 350 metres away and was operational between 1821 and the 1850s, being the largest distillery in the County of Caithness in its day.

Once inside the ‘new' Wolfburn it becomes clear that this is a no-nonsense whisky-making operat...

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