Taste Test: Turns Out Rod Stewart Makes a Solid Blended Scotch

Rod Stewart hasn’t showed any signs of slowing down, even as this iconic musician approaches 80. He released a new album last year and has a full year of touring before him, including a Las Vegas residency, but I’m not sure anyone had him pegged as the latest celebrity to start a spirits brand. Sir Rod has gone ahead and done just that with his brand-new Wolfie’s, a blended scotch that is exactly what you might expect from this category—a decent, if not totally exciting, whisky.

Blended scotch means the whisky is a blend of malt and grain whisky that is aged for a minimum of three years, as opposed to blended malt (a blend of just malt whiskies) or single malt (whisky made from 100 percent malted barley at one distillery). The whisky in the Wolfie’s bottle comes from Loch Lomond, a Highland distillery that produces single malt, grain, and blended whiskies. According to the brand, the malt component was double distilled in copper pot stills, while the grain whisky was made from wheat in stainless steel column stills.

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Both whiskies were matured in bourbon casks, although there are some dried fruit and spice notes on the palate that might make you think there was a sherry component as well. There are also notes of vanilla, citrus, dried apple, and raisin as you sip, along with a hint of milk chocolate and perhaps the faintest whiff of smoke on the back end. There’s nothing challenging about this whisky, but I don’t think that is the point here. This is supposed to be an easy-drinking blended scotch that you can enjoy over ice or in a highball or maybe even in something like a Rob Roy if you’re feeling complicated. Stewart laid it out in the press release with a decidedly English bent: “Wolfie’s is a rascal of a thing, and with just a sip the whisky takes you back to the good old days,” he said. “Fine-tuned and perfectly balanced, Wolfie’s is a delight both over ice and mixed into a favorite cocktail.”

There are some truly excellent and interesting blended scotches out there from brands like Compass Box. There are also comforting and familiar blends that taste equally great at an airport bar or ensconced in your living room from well-known names like Chivas, Dewar’s, and of course Johnnie Walker. Wolfie’s is clearly designed with the latter in mind, and in that this whisky is a success. It might not attract the hardcore single malt drinkers out there, but blends rarely do anyway despite being the bread and butter of the scotch industry and far outselling any single malt on the market. Who knows, Stewart might just be onto something here and this whisky could turn out to be the sexiest thing about him.

Score: 85

  • 100: Worth trading your first born for

  • 95 – 99 In the Pantheon: A trophy for the cabinet

  • 90 – 94 Great: An excited nod from friends when you pour them a dram

  • 85 – 89 Very Good: Delicious enough to buy, but not quite special enough to chase on the secondary market

  • 80 – 84 Good: More of your everyday drinker, solid and reliable

  • Below 80 It’s alright: Honestly, we probably won’t waste your time and ours with this

Every week Jonah Flicker tastes the most buzzworthy and interesting whiskeys in the world. Check back each Friday for his latest review.

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