Old Pulteney 12 Year – January Scotch of the Month

Old Pulteney 12 Year
Old Pulteney 12 Year

Happy New Year to all of our friends! I hope this year brings you joy and new experiences, including some new tastes along the way.

This New Year was a cold one, so I broke it in in the comfort of my living room, while enjoying some movies with my family. In addition to the Van Helsing’s Mouthwashbeer (I’ll let you guess what the dominant flavour of that was) I tried, I had the pleasure of sampling a lovely 12 year old highland single malt – Old Pulteney, 12 Year.

“A strange and beautiful sight to see the fleet put silently out against a rising moon, the sea-line rough as a wood with sails, and ever and again and one after another, a boat flitting swiftly by the silver disk.”  This quote adorns the front of the sleeve for this whiskey and is the reason, my lovely wife gave me this bottle this year, as it is by Robert Louis Stevenson whom I am partially named after. This was a gift so I don’t know the exact price in my neck of the woods, but I believe that it is around $60 CDN.

This light gold coloured whiskey is full of sweet smoke. It’s nose is of flowers and caramel with maybe a hint of citrus lingering withing the floral scents. Quite sweet, but not irritatingly so.

The palate is slightly different. The flowers give way to a mixture of fruit and nuts. There is a hint of orange along with other fruit like tones. This combined with a smokey nut flavour makes for a very clever and complex mixture of sweet and bitter.

This brings us to the finish. I haven’t always put together a correlation between the regions in which distilleries are located and the taste of the scotch they produce. Often distilleries are near the sea and claim a hint of the sea air in their tasting notes. I don’t always detect this, but then again I am not claiming to be an expert. Part if not all of the fun in tasting is learning as we go along.

This scotch, being produced on the Northern coast of Scotland, claims “This location has a dramatic effect on the maturing spirit. After it’s 12 years of maturation, Old Pulteney is intricate and memorable, balanced with a hint of sea air on the gentle clean finish.”

This scotch definitely has a taste of the sea air in the finish. There is a salt to it that compliments the bitter half of the palate while the sweetness slips away almost completely. It’s a nice sharp finish that makes one think of the fishing origins of the town of Wick (where this scotch is distilled).

I can definitely enjoy this scotch. It is distinctive enough to be appreciated apart from other single malts in this range, but not over the top in any area. As Jim Murray notes it has a “first-rate bitter sweet balance.”

The Old Pulteney Distillery uses a few unique pieces of equipment when making their scotch. They use their original wash still, which is said to have had it’s goose neck cut off due to height restrictions, and the spirit still is said to resemble that of a smuggler’s kettle.

Find out more about this scotch and Old Pulteney’s other labels at their  website: http://www.oldpulteney.com/.

If you have tried this scotch, please leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of it! All other comments are welcomed and appreciated.

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