Old Pulteney Single Malt 12-year-old
In the town of Wick on the remote north coast of Scotland, lies the relatively little-known Old Pulteney distillery. It has been owned by the very progressive Inver House Distillers since 1995 and they have done a great job of rejuvinating the old distillery. The original distillery was established in 1826 by James Henderson. It was the most northerly on the Scottish mainland and was quite inaccessible, except by sea, when it was founded. All of the needed commodities for distilling were brought in by sea, including the barley. The finished whisky was shipped out the same way. Many of the distillery workers were also employed as fishermen. The herring fishing industry is no longer part of daily life in Wick but the distillery continues to operate, producing this 12-year-old Highland single-malt with a reputation as one of the finest available.
Known for it’s unique pot stills, Old Pulteney Distillery defies convention even to this day. The wash still, in particular, is a source of fascination due to the absence of a ‘swan neck’. Legend has it that when the still was delivered it was too tall for the still house and the manager simply decided to cut the top off. The outstanding characteristics of this whisky are attributed to its exposure to sea air during maturation, and the use of an impeccable water source. The Old Pulteney site gets its water from an old mill stream called the Mill Lade. This stream flows out of Loch Hempriggs, two miles to the south, and is reputed to have powered a barley mill near the site of the distillery.
We don’t recommend whiskies without good reason and after sampling this one, there are plenty of good reasons. It has hints of apple, vanilla, oak, and chocolate, giving it a great complexity of flavor. And, we definitely recommend using one of our handcrafted whiskey stones to chill this fine whisky without diluting.
Nose: A burst of apricot and pear at first. Soft undertones of seaweed and brine follow, rounded off by cane sugar and butterscotch. An aromatic, flowery effect overall. There’s a soft fruitiness combined with honeydew melon and faint grassy notes.
Palate: Citrus dominates the palate, with lemon and honey. Butterscotch follows from the nose. Very light and aromatic again, with hints of vanilla icing, and confectioner’s sugar. In the mouth, the feel is omnipresent – hits every part including the tongue. An easy-drinking malt that offers a surprising array of flavor.
Finish: Sea air with a faint touch of smoke. Warm and fruity, with a touch of spice. Surprisingly long and viscous.