Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Old Pulteney 12 year old

Old Pulteney 12 year old
Bottled by: Distillery
ABV: 43%
Region: Highlands
Price: $30
Availability: Readily available in specialty shops

Old Pulteney, located in the town of Wick, is the most northerly whisky distillery on the Scottish mainland. It sits on the east coast about 40 miles northeast of the Clynelish distillery. Both distilleries produce whiskies praised by connoisseurs as having a "maritime" character. Old Pulteney is known as the "Manzanilla of the North" in reference to the famous, delicate fino sherry produced in the coastal Spanish town Sanlucar de Barrameda.

According to the bottle sleeve, the stills are quite odd: the wash has no swan neck and it is thought that when the original still was delivered, it was too tall for the stillhouse and the manager insisted it was "cut off". The spirit still resembles a "smuggler's kettle" and both undoubtedly contribute to the distinctive character of the whisky. I found pictures of both stills in this informative post here and there is little question that they were jury rigged to fit within the constraints of the premises.

Tasting Notes
Medium amber with a reddish tinge
Bright and fruity (apricot), light sherry oak. Butterscotch candies
Starts out deceptively medium-bodied and round, with a sweet richness which dissolves into a light-bodied, mouthwatering, spicy finish. Some bitter orange, more apricot. Flavors are light and delicate.
Medium, spicy, warming

Overall impression and notes: This was an enjoyable new Highland malt for me. Not the most complex or flavorful dram, but a very enjoyable nose and a pleasant balance of sweetness and spice on the palate. A nice Highland counterpoint to the typical Speysider.

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