Wolfburn distillery

Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Wolfburn uses a 1.1 ton mash and draws off clear worts which are then given a long fermentation before distillation in a wash still with capacity of 5.5k litres, and a spirit still which can hold 3,600 litres. Maturation takes place in predominantly ex-Bourbon casks, but some ex-Sherry are used. Its new make is malty, fruity and sweet with a floral hint.

  • Region
  • Production type
    Single malt
  • Distillery Status

Wolfburn History

Thurso is the most northerly town on the British mainland, but perhaps surprisingly it didn’t have a distillery for over 160 years. The first plant, called Wolfburn after the distillery water source, was opened by William Smith in 1821 and was run by the same family until 1837. In the 1820s it was the largest producer in Caithness. It appears to have closed in 1837 before David Smith ran it for one year in 1852, though there are claims that it continued intermittently into the 1860s.

The opening of 21st century Wolfburn was more of an exercise in archaeology than a process of bringing a disused plant back to life. Little more than a mound of stones showed where the original site had been. Its new owners built as close as they could to the spot – and use the same water source. The ground was broken on August 2012 and production commenced on 25 January 2013.


  • 1821 The original Wolfburn distillery is opened by William Smith in Thurso
  • 1837 The distillery ceases operation
  • 1852 David Smith purchases the site and runs the distillery for just one year
  • 2012 Aurora Brewing, a private consortium from Caithness, receive planning permission to rebuild Wolfburn 350m from the now ruins of the original distillery
  • 2013 Production commences at Wolfburn

Wolfburn Facts

  • Capacity (mlpa) i
  • Condenser Type i
    Shell and tube
  • Fermentation Time i
  • Filling Strength i
  • Grist Weight (t) i
  • Heat Source i
    Steam coils
  • Malt Specification i
    Pot still malt, PSY 400 LPA/tonne
  • Malt Supplier i
    Mutons, Bairds
  • Mash Tun Type i
    Semi Lauter
  • New-make Strength i
  • Single Malt Percentage i
  • Spirit Still Charge (l) i
  • Spirit Still Shape i
    Pot still with bulge in neck
  • Stills i
    2 (1 wash, 1 spirit)
  • Warehousing i
    Dunnage (on site at Henderson Park)
  • Wash Still Charge (l) i
  • Wash Still Shape i
    Pot still with bulge in neck
  • Washback Charge (l) i
  • Washback Size (l) i
  • Washback Type i
    Stainless steel
  • Washbacks i
  • Water Source i
    The Wolf Burn
  • Yeast Type i
    Anchor dry yeast


Current owner


Wolfburn Distillery
Henderson Park
KW14 7XW
United Kingdom
+44 800 944759
Visitor Opening Hours

Contact distillery for details


See also

  • Assery Assery Assery Distillery


    A farm distillery in Caithness, licensed in 1798 but closed the same year.

  • Ballie Ballie Ballie Distillery


    A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Caithness farm distillery that opened and shut in 1798.

  • Brawlbin Brawlbin Brawlbin Distillery


    An early Caithness distillery near Halkirk that at one point encompassed two sites.

  • Aurora Brewing Aurora Brewing Aurora Brewing Distiller
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