For our next review we are taking another trip up north, way up north, to the Pulteney Distillery (bottled as Old Pulteney). Old Pulteney recently won several awards, including an award from the World Whisky Awards, where their 1989 vintage was awarded ‘world’s best single malt’! Unfortunately for this review it won’t be the 1989 vintage (maybe one day), but the standard 12yo which by all means is still a fantastic whisky.
Built in 1826 the distillery is located in Wick, and was Scotland’s most northerly distillery on the mainland until the opening of Wolfburn distillery just over 3 years ago now. Hailed as the ‘Maritime malt’, it has been loved by the seafarers of the Pluteney fishing village for hundreds of years, as is represented on their packaging with trawler boats. Pulteney, for the 12yo at least, is matured solely in former bourbon barrels and has a lovely saline note to it, thanks to its coastal location. Anyway, enough waffling, time to taste!
Straight away there is loads of honey, just honey, honey, honey. This leads on to vanilla, toffee and a kick of coconut too. It is a very sweet and light whisky on the nose. With time the whisky relaxes and becomes much fruitier and more floral, with peaches, apricots and heather.
On the palate it is again very sweet but not as you would expect from the nose. There is still that massive honeyed character but there is also a drying, malty influence which stops it from being too sweet. After the cereal begins to fade away it becomes quite salty/briny feeling on the palate, which sounds horrible but it really isn’t, and it is typical of Pulteney.
There isn’t a huge finish to this whisky, it’s fairly short. Plenty of malt, some sweet citrus and salted nuts, that’s about it. That said it is quite pleasant and makes you want to drink more.
The Pulteney 12yo is a very good entry level bottling. It’s sweet, complex, and very easy to drink…too easy…dangerously easy, it’s so moreish that one dram is never enough. I’ve always enjoyed the Pulteney as a malt, especially for the price you pay for it. It’s always on sale somewhere and you can usually pick it up for around £25, which is an absolute steal! If you want to get into drinking whisky or aren’t a fan of smoky drams then get yourself a bottle of this, no hint of smoke and it goes down very well indeed! Obviously a higher bottling strength would be nice, but it is what it is, a soft, easy drinking whisky, perfect for relaxing.
Gary & Steven