Old Pulteney 12 years

"A good whisky for beginning explorers that comes from the north of the Highlands with an evident sherry influence"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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Up north in the Scottish highlands lies the town of Wick, where we find “The Maritime Malt”, as Old Pulteney is also known. Named after Sir William Pulteney, who in the 19th century commissioned to build near Wick the then-largest herring fishing harbour in the world. To provide the many fisherman with something to drink, which was difficult to import since the town was only accessible by water, the Old Pulteney distillery was founded. Nowadays, the herring fishermen are gone, the town is connected by a highway to the rest of Scotland, but the whisky still has the singularity of an isolated town.

Nose

The sherry kicks in fairly quick, and mingles with notes of fresh salty sea air. Some sulphuric notes appeared to me when the bottle was open for a while, but these stay on the pleasant side. Furthermore, fruitiness (apples and pears), fresh white wine and white grape juice, some fresh floral notes, buttery creaminess, and a touch of smoke. However, the sherry is never far away, and seems to be more of the Pedro Ximinez (PX) kind. Water brings out more of the fruitiness, with additional notes of cranberries, red berries, unripe melon and a light whiff of  strawberries.

Taste

Light, but with substance. A mix of typical Highland features with a palette of earthiness, malt, buttery cream, and floral notes. Typical is the briny undercurrent, which reminds me really of passing my tongue over my lips after a summer day’s swim in the sea. Dry fruitiness, which is slightly acidic, like a not too sweet fresh white wine. Gets better and fuller when the bottle has been opened for a while.

Overall

Nice mixture of typical Highland ingredients and coastal influence. Give this some attention and be patient, because you will be rewarded with a beautiful and quite unique sherried single malt.

What others say

Whiskybase: 81.52 (408 votes) * Serge Valentin @Whiskyfun: 81/100 * @Whiskynotes: 78/100 * @Ralfy: 89/100 * Gavin Smith @Whiskyadvocate: 87/100
Read for yourself

A bottle of this was

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
50%
Peat/smoke
10%
Nose 82%
Taste 83%
Balance 82%
Depth 80%
Finish 85%
Score