Established in 1826, the Old Pulteney Scotch whisky brand has long been noted for its maritime influences–fitting, given the distillery’s location in the Scottish port town of Wick. Its traditional barrel aging warehouses are exposed to sea air blowing in off the North Sea, which is said to bring more salty notes to the final tasting palate. The core line up for Old Pulteney is going through a reboot at the moment, with a renewed emphasis on this seaside theme.
This new collection, according to those behind it, now consists of non-age statement, 12-year, 15-year and 18-year-old expressions. Here’s what to know about each of the new Old Pulteney whiskies:
Huddart (46% ABV, £45 or about $60 USD): This expression takes its name from the street on which Pulteney distillery is located, which in turn is named after Captain Joseph Huddart, a hydrographer who had provided maps and charts for the British Fisheries Society – the builders of Pulteneytown and its harbour. He was also for a period a Director of the British Fisheries Society.Matured in second fill American oak, ex bourbon casks then finished in ex-bourbon casks that had previously held heavily peated whisky.After initial notes of mellow wood smoke, honey and oily leather, Huddart later blooms into crisp green apple, with creamy vanilla and a hint of burnt toffee in the background. Flavours of freshly-ground spices and soft vanilla balance the central notes of smoke and peat fire, supported by richly sweet and distinctly salty coastal flavours in the background, together reminiscent of salted caramel.
12 Year Old (40% ABV, £32 or about $40 USD): Wholly matured in air dried, hand selected ex-bourbon casks, mostly second fill American oak.On the palate, 12 Years Old offers a distinctive salty top note, reminiscent of the Caithness coast, whilst soft citrus pairs with dark caramel and creamy vanilla for sweetness. This is complemented by a firm bodied and smooth flavour where sweet notes of honey and cream develop into ripe, fruity overtones and fresh spice, with a long-lasting subtly salty finish.
15 Year Old (46% ABV, £70, or about $90 USD): Matured in second fill American oak, ex-bourbon casks, followed by a period of further maturation in first fill Spanish oak, ex Oloroso butts.Uniting spice and sweetness together, its flavour evokes Christmas cake and fragrant spices, with layers of chocolate and a distinct dark toffee sweetness, whilst the finish delivers a hint of salty sea air.
18 Year Old (46% ABV, £115, or about $150 USD): Matured in second fill American oak, ex bourbon casks, followed by a period of further maturation in first fill Spanish, ex-Oloroso sherry butts.The rich chocolate and creamy vanilla flavour makes 18 Years Old a true indulgence, further enriched by the sweetness of honey tempered by vibrant spices. This is layered with honeyed spices and Christmas cake, whilst floral notes lend a dash of finesse, complemented by zesty hints of citrus and green apple to a lively, long finish.
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...