With the sea in the background, Old Pulteney has one of the most visually appealing bottles coming out of Scotland.

With the sea in the background, Old Pulteney has one of the most visually appealing bottles coming out of Scotland.

Today, Scotchvember rolls on with a review of Old Pulteney 12 yr., as well as marking another tandem review with my friend William from A Dram Good Time.  Pulteney is the northernmost distillery on the Scottish mainland, located on the northeast Scottish coast in the fishing town of Wick.  The distillery is somewhat famous for the fact that the stills both have very large balls towards the top (a design imitated by the Old Pulteney bottle), encouraging a lot of reflux.  The finished product is a very oily spirit, similar to that of Scapa.  Old Pulteney 12 yr. is the entry level malt from the distillery, aged entirely in ex-bourbon casks, and bottled at 86 proof (43%abv).

On the nose, Old Pulteney is especially fruity in flavor and oily in texture.  The fruit notes remind me most of pears and red apples, but the nose also yields barley, sea salt, and light floral notes.  The palate is the highlight of this whisky for me, though.  It is medium-bodied, with notes of pear, peach, sea salt, strawberry, and warming oak.  The finish is medium in length, but still warming and pleasant, with very good balance between saltiness and orchard fruits lingering on the palate.

Overall, I am definitely a fan of Old Pulteney 12 yr.  It is an accessible malt that still packs plenty of complexity for all whisky drinkers to enjoy.  I would love to see what this whisky would achieve at a higher abv, but as it is, this is still very good whisky.  The 12 year-old expression of Old Pulteney is also a very spry malt, still very much alive.  I am curious to try some older Old Pulteney malts to see how the spirit handles the extra wood.  My grade: B+.  Price: $35-40/750ml.  For the price, this single malt is very hard to beat.  If you are in a seafaring mood, but don’t care for peated whiskies, give Old Pulteney a try and let it ride!

Here are William’s tasting notes and a link to his review here.

Color:  Gold

Nose:  Bright, fruity and lightly floral – Apple, pear, vanilla, paraffin, honey, some light coastal qualities – brine, seas air – honeysuckle now and caramel.
Palate:  Slightly oily mouthfeel and again full of fresh fruits and light floral qualities – Apple, honey, sweet grain, brine, ginger, caramel and just a touch of citrus.
Finish:  Moderate with ginger and sea-sprayed fruits.

Overall this Pulteney is aligned quite nicely with its aromas and makes for a great ‘anytime sipper.’ Its coastal influences also make it an excellent introductory whisky for those wishing to branch off into something a little different but still want to stay in the light and fruity side of single malts. It also shows just how broad of a range there is in regards to Highland whiskies.