By: David Othenin-Girard
K&L Staff Member
Old Pulteney is one of those under the radar distilleries that the geeks hate to talk about. No one was happy when Jim Murray named their now discontinued 21-year-old Whisky of the Year and rightfully so as it's become nearly impossible to acquire at the original price. Despite the awards and good will from the cognoscenti, Pulteney has remained a background player in the single malt world. Current owners, ThaiBev, however are looking to establish the Old distillery in the very north of Scotland in its rightful place as one of the highlands most well regarded malts. Part of that process is changing from the off-year expressions to the more familiar age offerings (12, 18, 25), but also by launching seemingly secret single barrel program. Only a handful of shops have jumped on the opportunity to own a cask strength single barrel from the odd little distillery in Wick. We've been lucky enough to be one of them. As with many Pulteney, the nose is pure salt, malt, herbal tea and cardamom. The palate is deep with the roasted cocoa, fudge, touches of anise, fennel and vanilla. But of course, with water this thing erupts. Now on the nose the ripest Bartlett pears - smashed, lemon peel, Mirabelle, dried apricot, salted butter on toast. The anise moving much more toward mint and fennel flavors and a long creamy texture is pointed with cotton candy, lemon oils and the tiniest hints of diesel smoke. Staunchly pleasing due to its exceptional purity and straight forwardness. The interplay between the malt, fruit and salt is quintessential Pulteney in my book. It might not be the most nuanced whisky we sell this year, but it may be the one you finish first. Too GOOD to put down!