Tasting Notes: Old Pulteney 12

With just its single set of stills, the northern-most distillery on the Scottish mainland has been working hard over the last decade to expand both its range of single malts and its reach to consumers. You can read all about this interesting seaside Highland distillery in recent reviews of its new 30 year old and Isabella Fortuna WK499 expressions. This standard 12 year old bottling, aged in both bourbon and sherry casks, is a steal at under $40.

Old Pulteney 12 Year Old

Abv.: 43%

Color: gold with auburn highlights.

Legs: eh. Slow to form, but quick to fall, and rather thick. Cankles.

Nose: sharp, both in sweetness and saltiness; a floral bouquet, ocean fumes, crab apples, faint prunes, and cinnamon sticks, melding into a double-apple shisha.

Palate: very nice salty fudge up front, then twigs, figs, and dried cranberries, and lots of cloves.

Body: medium-to-light and quite dry.

Finish: the big flavours start to dissipate quickly, but a light and subtle roasted peanut remains for a good while.

Overall: I like it. While it highjacks some aspects of the Highland Park 12 and 18 year profiles (floral, salty, lightly sherried, with spices), it still doesn’t have the gorgeous honey, smoke, and weight of those Orcadian whiskies. And yet it has a multi-faceted flavour and balance of its own to appreciate. Definitely a maritime whisky, and definitely a Highland, it is well worth its price tag and perhaps even a bit more. If you like salty, maritime Highlands, compare this to the much more expensive (almost doubly so) Oban 14 year old– I’d personally take this one every time.

Price (750 ml, US): $35–39

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