Updated October 17, 2016
By Kurt Maitland
The Old Pulteney Distillery dates back to 1826, and is named after Sir William Pulteney. He is the namesake for the town that the distillery is located in, Pulteneytown, and thus for the distillery too.
Old Pulteney Distillery is the most northerly distillery on the Scottish mainland and at the time of its establishment was quite inaccessible, except by sea. That has since changed, as the Old Pulteney has become quite accessible lately, winning awards and garnering fans. The latter include Jenn Wong, the LA blogger and voiceover actress that The Whiskey Reviewer interviewed in August of this year, which described Old Pulteney as her “go to” whiskey.
The 12 Year Old is the entry level single malt for Old Pulteney, and is bottled at 43% abv. My notes are as follows:
Appearance: Golden ginger
Nose: Light honeyed smoke, whiff of sea salt
Taste: I get light smoke, honeyed citrus, cinnamon, chocolate and sea salt. With water, the smoke gets tamped down as does the sea salt and the cinnamon gets a slightly higher profile. The mouthfeel is smooth and well rounded
Balance: Smooth, slightly oily finish
Finish: A little dry, semi-sweet, with a light pepper note at the end
This is a great tasting single malt. It is almost dessert-like in its flavor profile. It’s well suited to be a relaxing after work drink or the kick off to the start of an evening out. It’s a good option to introduce a person to the world of single malts while still giving seasoned hands a reason to enjoy.
Addendum By Father John Rayls
The appearance is a combination of orange-tinted and medium-brown colors, taking on the appearance of rich Kentucky tobacco leaf as it dries in the barn. The bottle is reminiscent of the still itself. It’s unusual and attractive at the same time. The legs are long, and drain consistently and evenly around the glass.
The nose is light, but not difficult to detect with a total absence of alcohol burn. There are notes of light honey smoke with salted caramel nuts and some very light vanilla, with a very satisfying creamy mouthfeel. Most of the flavor profile is mid-mouth and almost makes it to the tip of the tongue. It brings to mind a Payday candy bar on the tongue only not nearly as sweet. It’s salty, nutty and comes with a caramel base with light spice.
At 86 proof, it drinks like a much bigger whisky. As primarily a bourbon drinker, I’m surprised to say this could become a regular “go to” for me. The finish is medium to long and changes from a salty caramel cinnamon profile into a light oak pepper finish. This would be an excellent scotch to help “newbies” join in, but is interesting enough to grab the attention of more experienced consumers.
This excellent spirit can be found at most well stocked liquor stores for $40 to $45 dollars US.
Between 2000 and 2013, Old Pulteney 12 Year Old collected one double gold, two golds, and two silvers from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Add to that some silvers from the International Spirits Challenge and the International Wine and Spirits Competition.