"One can only hope that the distillery's owners will cherish Old Pulteney distillate's unique features"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
Revamping the standard range is due to happen sometime for any brand. The marketing department can only convert their energy to yet another online marketing campaign for so long until they get bored with the current look and feel of the objects. The fans, however, tend to cling to the old versions and rarely see the update as an improvement. I must admit that often I belong to this category and question the necessity of the particular change of label, age or casks usage. In recent years many fans might have had valid reasons when yet another brand removed its age statement and left the buyers into oblivion about what was actually in their bottle. Companies often had the right reasons (shortage of stocks), but the wrong communication. I mean why not be bold and honest about the age of your liquid? The worst restyling has likely been that at Mortlach, but we’ll leave that for another time. Old Pulteny restyled their range at the end of 2018, partially to replace the popular 17- and 21-year-old releases due to stock shortages. Their new range has been met with mixed feelings, although prices remained reasonable (however, you’re right an 18-year-old whisky for over 100 euros is still rather expensive). Their character might have decreased a little, it seems that it still there and not totally subdued in some cask finish. But that is just from hearsay, I still need to taste them myself. Today we go back to the old range and re-taste the much loved 17-year-old.
Initially I get apple juice and sherry with a salty twist. Add to that sunflower oil, minerals, pear cider, grinded iron and apple cake. It is rather complex with many small variations on the sherry & salt theme. Salted raisins, a light sherry (with salted food) and sweet dried figs. Gets sweeter after a while with more fudge, apple cake, red wine, dried apples and fresh figs. No need really for a drop of water.
Nicely balanced entree with metallic sherry, sea salt, minerals, salty raisins and grape skins. Feels familiar (I am tasted this blind), but I cannot place it just yet. It gets slightly dryer with some wood making an entry. More minerals, dry Oloroso sherry and salty fudge (I know the salt theme gets a bit boring). The aftertaste is pretty persistant with more dry sherry, raisin cake, plum soaked in Armagnac, a pinch of sea salt and caramel. The balance is there and stays there, so perfect strength.
The salty twist gave it away during the blind tasting, something I particularly associate with Old Pulteney. I think this is still a classic whisky with a different smell and taste compared to other Scotch. One can only hope that the distillery’s owners will keep these particular features in future bottlings, since there enough other release alike out there.
This sample was part of organised by Whisky4all!
• these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •