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Some names in whiskey are famous because they’re plastered right on the bottle—Evan Williams, Jack Daniel’s, Elijah Craig, and so on. Other names are famous in a more subtle way that insiders appreciate and grow to know thanks to a long family history in the industry and the spirits themselves. The Karakasevic family falls into the latter category.
Milorad Karakasevic’s family has more than 250 years in winemaking and distilling dating back to when they lived in the former Yugoslavia. He moved to the United States in 1962 when he was 21, and in 2010 earned a title no one has before: The country’s first Grand Master Distiller, which means he’s distilled brandy, whiskey, rum, and tequila (the last of which, of course, can only be made in Mexico). His son, Marko, the 13th generation master distiller in the family, trained for 26 years with his father at their family distillery and winery, Charbay, in Northern California.
Innovation runs through Marko’s work. He made waves early with hopped whiskeys made from Bear Republic beer and other boundary pushing releases. A new American single malt release called Lot One is guided by his generations of distilling history and principles. The release comes from Wolves Whiskey, a California luxury whiskey brand founded by James Bond (co-founder of the boutique sneaker store Undefeated) and fashion designer Jon Buscemi.
ABV: 55 percent ABV (110 proof)
Where it’s available: Available by registering online, ships to most of the United States
How Wolves Whiskey Lot One Is Made
The whiskeys that went into this whiskey have been a long time in the works. Wolves Single Malt is a blend of single malt and malted barley whiskeys that Karakasevic distilled in 2015 on a traditional alembic pot still imported from Cognac. It’s brought down to proof with mineral-rich water from the Russian River. Eleven barrels were blended and bottled, while the twelfth was picked for a single barrel, members-only release.
Wolves is no stranger to another Karakasevic specialty, the beer-distilled whiskey, but this is the first single malt release from the brand. A new still and partnership between the brand and the master distiller will ensure that Wolves can continue these beer whiskeys and single malts in the future.
What Wolves Whiskey Lot One Tastes Like
Lot One is a rich whiskey. The blend incorporates a range of flavors into the bottle, from notable vanilla and maple syrup characteristics to currant and bright citrus. There’s a significant amount of chocolate and leather notes, too, for a whiskey that’s perfect to sip neat, with a couple drops of water to open it up, or with a single ice cube.
Why You Should Add Wolves Whiskey Lot One To Your Bar Cart
This is a showcase whiskey. You know, the type that you bring out for the special friends and family who are prone to geek out over whiskeys they haven’t tried before. Plus, it just looks good on the bar cart: The labels match the high-design ethos of the founders,with each bottle hand-numbered and wrapped in a sheepskin label printed with UV light.
Photo Credit: Leah Moriyama