CYWL: 5th Release

[Coming to you weeks after the event], tonight’s tasting sees the launch of Cut Your Wolf Loose’s 5th single malt release, accompanied by a number of [perhaps not-so-random] cask samples.

In the spirit of Springbank’s ‘New & Forthcoming’ tastings [WLP], no doubt tonight we are guinea pigs for potential up-and-coming releases from CYWL – willing guinea pigs I may add! I see this tasting, then, as a guide as to what may be appearing from Cut Your Wolf Loose in the next few months or years, either as official bottlings or CYWL-only exclusives.

[Taken in June 2022, the abv percentages of these cask samples were taken/measured when the liquid was in barrels].


Cameronbridge 2013/2022 09yo CYWL cask sample #181015 68.8%

  • N: Spirity/make-y sweet-sour, raisins, vanilla, a touch of meringue.
  • T: Fresh if somewhat delicate/gentile, yet more oily and firm with water assisting a not-unlikeable chewy raisin shortbread travel.
  • F: Steady fresh sweet=sour finish.
  • C: Promising. Likely to be diverted to another cask in conjunction with a single malt, we are told.

[Not scored]


Jura 2012/2022 10yo CYWL refill hoggie cask sample #700026 63%

  • N: Fresh overall. Descriptors included Garibaldi’s, breads, and pastries.
  • T: Soft-spiced raisin juice into a fresh barley-faithful fluffiness followed by a soft bready chew.
  • F: A tad astringent on the turn despite commendable refill cask action. Finishes a touch sour to bitter though we’ve a strong barley-led conclusion.
  • C: The best young Jura I’ve had in a long while. I look forward to the release of this one in due course.

Scores 85 points


Tamnavulin 2015/2022 07yo CYWL virgin oak cask sample #300385 63.4%

Tamnavulin gets a bad rap, says Seb, who thinks [quite rightly] that this negative reputation is unjust. I’ll add that Tamnavulin ages very happily in refill hoggies when left to do its thing. This one, however, is ageing in virgin oak.

  • N: Malty honeyed popcorn, this one is richer than the previous two cask samples.
  • T: With additional water a must, we’ve a barley-faithful delivery with positive virgin oak maturation, currently.
  • F: Ticks over quite beautifully with little juvenility showing. Yes, it’s spicy but reduction with water triumphs again.
  • C: Decent as is at just 7 years, I’d imagine we shall see this one reappearing as an official bottle in the next year or two.

Scores 85 points


Fettercairn 2016/2022 06yo CYWL Refill cask sample #700245 61%

  • N: Raisin-y husky/nutty distillate also displaying coppery leather and [Hubbabubba] strawberry bubblegum traits amongst others.
  • T: Characterful husky if slightly buttery Fettercairn.
  • F: Slightly grainy,… coppery,… earthy, slightly fungal,…
  • C: “An example of a young one that we could bottle”, says Seb, yet there’s more cooking to be done.

Scores 84 points

Whilst enjoying these cask samples, I’m further reminded of Seb Woolf’s integrity and commitment to bottling quality whisky when the spirit is ready and not simply reaching for easy money and exploiting the fervoured whisky market. Talking of which, it’s time to try CYWL’s fifth release which itself sees a very small return/margin.

Meanwhile, there’s been talk of the year William Gladstone and 1860, the year of the Spirits Act that allowed the blending of Scotch whisky for the first time. I shall look into it further and report back.


Ben Nevis 2017/2023 05yo CYWL STR American Oak Barrique #7877A [190 bts] 67.1% WB0

Maturation-wise, there’s been no cask change from when I first tried this as a 03yo [WLP86]. A year and more on in that STR barrique, what changes?

  • N: Maple bacon crispy snacks seasoned with rosemary & paprika, fig juice, [Twix] caramel, tobacco char into BBQ sauce, ice cream,… A talkative expression.
  • T: At times exotic idiosyncratic and certainly involving, this is a lively and spirited [pun intended] young Nevis, one that heads straight to the back of the palate as if hot but not! Perhaps related, I pick up on a likeness to rum and even cachaca and pisco with a smoky molasses quality over a grape-sweet influence. Phil gets “charred broccoli” – inspired. A jostling balance, water is required for this whisky at 5 years whereas it was a hummer, neat, at just 3!
  • F: A savoury sweet dryish coppery aniseed/liquorice back-of-the-palate chew resides, more of that charred broccoli, toffee, and perhaps just a glimmer of the farmy distillery character at the death under sweet milky toffee.
  • C: Decent Ben Nevis though I still miss it at three years when it was an uncompromising force of nature. Swings & roundabouts! Expect a full bottle review in due course.

Scores 86 points


There’s more? There’s always more!

Caol Ila 2006/2022 16yo Infrequent Flyers Release #87 moscatel cask #6441 [317 bts] 56.6% WB88.60[12]

  • C: In two words: sweet peat. Elaborating slightly, a wine-sweetened malt besides a bonfire. Overall, top-heavy – the Walker way – though the cask promotes the Coal Ila in that it appears to promote a textural chew. 

Scores 85 points


WIth thanks to Seb and Co.

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