Pulteney Distillery Bottlings Tasting Notes

Posted: September 14, 2011 in Pulteney, Scotch Whisky H-Z

Old Pulteney New Make Spirit 63.3%

Tasted: Apr 2014

A pungent and lightly oiled nose which displays plenty of very sweet cereal. Lightly toasted but exceptionally clean. Hints green fruit and citrus emerge along with a touch of peat smoke and some earthy/ woody/ manurey notes. Very complex for new make spirit.

The palate is very alcoholic! Again showing some sweet cereal along with a biscuity/ toasty note. Very clean with a touch of citrus and a lightly, slight bitter spice finish and a sweet, earthy after-taste.

With water (Highland Usige Source) the nose become a little oiler and lightly fragrant with the citrus joined by some crisp white fruit. The barley is not quite as sweet now. The palate is softer and oilier with more emphasis on the toasted cereal. It has a lovely, nascent, fleshy fruit character and a dry spice finish.

Old Pulteney 12 year old 40%

Tasted: June 2004

A pleasant, clean, honeyed, malty nose. Quite rounded, full and fruity with fleshy apricot, mango, tropical fruits, vanilla oak, spice and maritime notes. Again clean and fruity on the palate, nice and soft with plenty of apricot and creamy, sweet oak. It opens into a lovely coastal middle – all tangy and windswept! Good length with a malty/ salty finish. Excellent value for money I’d say!

Old Pulteney 12 year old 40%

Re-Tasted Feb 2012

A superbly deep and herbal honey accented nose with barley, gristy spices and layers of soft, fleshy sub-tropical fruit, malt and a deft coastal note. Like a number of malts this seems to have put on weight and become fuller since I lasted tasted if. Wonderfully complex with a light coffee/ cocoa note and a distinct citrus twang.

Full and honeyed on the palate with plenty of malty goodness! Very clean barley arrives with a lovely sugar dusting. Quite a zesty, coastaly, tangy middle leading to a lovely long finish with hints of mocha and bitter dark chocolate notes. Again fuller than I remember it but still extremely good!

Old Pulteney 12 year old 40%

Re-Tasted June 2013

A lovely, soft and marine influenced nose with bold, creamy American oak, barley and summer meadow flowers. There is a touch of sherry cask richness present along with some spice notes too. Less tropical than the last time I tasted it but there’s a lovely balancing citrus brininess and a late white liquorice note.

Soft, succulent and poised on the palate, opening with the sweet barley and creamy oak. Gentle coastal notes mingle with the dusty/ earthy sherry spices and dried fruit. Lovely length with hints of liquorice and coffee, finishing with a spice and citrus laden saltiness.

Old Pulteney 17 year old 46%

Tasted: May 2005

A very candied-sweet nose of sweet orange, pineapple with hints of toffee and coffee. It has an appealing Sauvignon Blanc freshness to it with hints of dried grass along with a building gentle salinity.

The palate begins with the gentle saline notes and candied fruit. It seems quite younger. My god the tannins kick in quickly. There are splinters on my tongue! However some delightful Sauvignon-esque white fruit and dry grass rescues the palate. The finish is reasonable (especially after all that tannin) with a sherberty finish.

One question – what has happened to its windswept character? Where are these casks stored? Although the distillery has five warehouses which have a total capacity of 24,000 casks, it is possible that some of the older casks maybe stored maybe stored in Aidrie where Inver House Distillers have their main ‘central’ warehouses. This is definitely the case with some of their other distilleries output from Speyburn and Knockdhu. This may well be the reason for the lack of ‘coastal’ character, if you believe that the environment surrounding the casks influences the spirit.

Old Pulteney 17 year old 46%

Tasted: Oct 2006

A clean but lean nose with earthy apricot, delicate sherry influences and buttery vanilla top notes. Hiunts of burnt toast, smoke and a vague salinity.

Soft and smooth on the palate with a good clean sherry influence. There is more salinity on the middle than the last time I tasted this, but to be honest it’s ultimately rather straightforward nand lacking the personality of the 12 year old. Although in saying that the use of sherry casks does give it a more fuller body.

Old Pulteney 17 year old 46%

Tasted: Feb 2012

Rich, deep and luscious aromas of sweet refill Oloroso seeped fruit along with a touch of pear, citrus, light toffee, peat and dusty spices. Enveloping and multi-layered with some beautiful sweet barley mingling with some fishy/ briny notes. A stunning nose! Majestic and complex.

A faultlessly clean palate which starts quite subtly with the toffee’d rich fruit showing first along with hints of toasted barley, dried, zesty citrus and a wonderful, building coastal intensity which breaks on the tongue like waves on a rocky shoreline. A majestic depth with shards of honey, cocoa and lightly sweetened soft fruit. Very long with some dried spices, oak and salt. Wonderfuilly balanced with a slight oily finish.

Old Pulteney 17 Years Old 46%

Tasted: Feb 2012

The nose is generous and fruity with a delightfully exuberant tropical character, it’s all apricot, kumquat, guava and banana all wrapped in moist, mature honey and oak. Gentle spice notes accent and some sumptuous dried fruit arrives with time as does a touch of botanical spirit.

The palate is a lot less generous in the fruit department with a greater emphasis on the granity, herbal honey and hard, mouth-watering barley fruit. Gentle oak underpins and supports adding a gentle spice note.

Finish: Quite juicy now, still mouth-watering with the herbal, spirit notes returning. Conclusion: The nose is stunning, but the palate doesn’t quite have the exuberance of the nose. However it is still wonderfully deep and subtle

Old Pulteney 21 year old 46%

Tasted: Dec 2011

A deep, mellow and mature nose. Seriously rounded with a multitude of aromas – Camphor tinged; salty-malty-makula honey mingles with fresh green, cucumber, lime rind and seeped exotic fruit. Seriously deep with hints of old wood/ hickory and surprisingly, given it’s age some gristy barley. With time more of the coastal character asserts itself.

Full and wonderfully gentle on the palate, wave after wave of lightly honeyed, mature, tropical fruit breaks over the tongue. There is a beautifully deliate line of smoke and coastal notes which weaves its way through followed by some demerara flecked malt. Stunningly deep and full, yet light on its feet, with the alcohol adding a piquancy. Very, very long and gristy with delightful hints of oak and spices. For a malt this light it lingers impressively and signs of with a breath taking herbaceous finish.

Old Pulteney 21 year old 40%

Re-Tasted: Jan 2017

Nose: Opens with perfumed white fruit and barley before developing some rye-like herbal notes. Subtly nutty with a touch of fern, camphor, dried fruit and honey.

Palate: Fresh and honeyed with hints of dried fruit, vanilla and taught but spicy tannins. Great depth and balance with dried apricot, citrus, nuts and coffee on the middle.

Finish: Long and spicy with lingering fruit.

Conclusion: Wonderfully vibrant and fresh with a lovely woody/ spicy character.

Old Pulteney 1990 (24 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Sherry

Dist: 1990 Btl: 2014/ Tasted: Apr 2014

A lovely, full and malty nose, displaying plenty of mature sawdusty American oak along with hints of sweet sheried fruit at the edges. Dense and deep with castor sugar and crumbly spice sprinkled apricots and apple. A light maritime note balances beautifully.

The palate opens with the soft, sultana and sweet sherried fruit. The dusty American oak sits beneath. Like the nose it is full, robust and malty with treacle and baked dark fruit. The salinity and citrus combine to add freshness on the middle and the finish is where the mature American oak comes through. The finish is exceptionally long with a chocolaty, sweetly spiced and maritime finish.

Old Pulteney 1990 (24 year old) 46%

Re-Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Deep and dense with apricot, apple, barley and hints of herbs. Great depth and youthful intensity. With time the herbal notes come through really strongly but then some sweet-ish oak appears and the nose has become a giant honey, oak and herbs fest!

Palate: Surprisingly subtle after the nose but pleasantly juicy with barley and light honey. Hints of orange and toffee. Some classic Highland, granity notes comes through on the middle.

Finish: Good fresh and mouth-watering finish with lingering herbal honey.

Conclusion: A lovely, complex, classic Highland malt.

Old Pulteney Lightly Peated 1989 (25 year old) 46%

This has been matured in American oak ex-bourbon barrels which previously held peated malt

Tasted: Oct 2015

Nose: Youthful and crisp with barley, light honey and a touch of subtly toasted vanilla oak. With time perfumed white fruit, white liquorice and ginger root appears.

Palate: Deep and barley’d with vanilla oak, fleshy apricot, herbs and crisp, granity citrus. Not hugely complex but it has a lovely freshness and intensity.

Finish: A continuation of the palate. Long, fresh and granity with some gently bitter tannins.

Conclusion: A lovely, crisp and fresh young Highland malt. Just the dram to revive a tired palate.

Old Pulteney Lightly Peated 1989 (25 year old) 46%

WWA 2016 Best Scotch Single malt – Highlands

Re-Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: Oily, almost Alsacian white fruits with hints of grass and minerals. Beautifully fresh and deep with hints of mature apricot, honey and musty, almost peated floral notes.

Palate: Opens with oily barley and again that Alsace-like white fruit and grass. Hints of toasty oak and a very light smokiness. Stunningly deep.

Finish: A generous, fruity finish balanced by its freshness and minerality.

Conclusion: Gorgeous.

Old Pulteney Lightly Peated 1989 (25 year old) 46%

Re-Tasted: Apr 2016

Lovely, rich barley aromas with hints of dusty, mature oak, buttery oak, apricot, white fruit and a blink and you miss it light peat note. Wonderfully elegant with a robust fruit character, along with a touch of salt and violets.

The palate is crisp and gently mineral with hints of barley and dusty American oak. Lovely intensity of classy apricot, white fruit and honey. The oak becomes a little creamy on the middle accented by some subtle coastal notes and peat. Very long with a salty, mineral finish and lingering orange conserve and dusty oak.

Old Pulteney Lightly Peated 1989 (25 year old) 46%

Re-Tasted: Apr 2016

Lovely, rich barley aromas with hints of dusty, mature oak, buttery oak, apricot, white fruit and a blink and you miss it light peat note. Wonderfully elegant with a robust fruit character, along with a touch of salt and violets.

The palate is crisp and gently mineral with hints of barley and dusty American oak. Lovely intensity of classy apricot, white fruit and honey. The oak becomes a little creamy on the middle accented by some subtle coastal notes and peat. Very long with a salty, mineral finish and lingering orange conserve and dusty oak.

Old Pulteney 30 year old 40%

Tasted: Mar 2012

The nose is crisper, harder and a touch lighter than the 21 year old, but there it is showing a tad more of the maritime characteristics. Still stunningly complex, the aromas gently unwind to show salt encrusted barley, white fruits and macula honey along with some superbly mature, sawdusty oak and a brief meandering smokiness. Yes the oak does grip a bit more given its extra time in the cask, thus the aromas are not quite as voluptuously tropical as the 21 year old, but definitely a bit more spicier though.

The palate displays a greater degree of mature, sawdusty oak, but the wonderful sub-tropical lychee, pineapple and white pear fruit is still there. Again maybe not as exuberantly fruity as the 21, but it is still wonderfully clean and maritime led, especially on the middle. Ooh, now the fruit lets go and explodes onto the touch with a serious juiciness! Stunning length. Gentle barley and a touch of herbs shows through the fleshy fruit and the oak adds a controlled white chocolatey bitterness. Stunningly balanced finish, again a tad firmer than the 21 year old but no less impressive.

Old Pulteney 35 year old 42.5%

Tasted: Sept 2014

A wonderfully mature nose with waves of sawdusty oak and buckets of dusty vanilla enhanced barley. Brimming with tropical pineapple, peach, melon and kiwi, lubricatively coated with blossom honey and intermingling with pine nuts, pine sap, malt, mocha, milk chocolate shavings, a touch of smoke and a light herbal-peat intimation. Damn that’s a fine nose! It’s a real desert malt but there’s a balancing coastal edge and juicy citrus notes.

Oh! That just glides across the palate! Opening with the lush honeyed tropical fruit before the malt and darker wood spices emerge. A gorgeously juicy burst of citrus keeps the bittering oak at bay and allows the 90% pure cocoa to liberally coat the tongue. Extremely long with a beautiful barley and citrus fade along with hints of pine, green citrus fruit and a light waft of bbq smoke. Finally a little honey glazed meat, liquorice and camphor comes through on the after-taste. That’s mind blowingly good!

Old Pulteney 35 year old 42.5%

Re-Tasted: Jan 2015

Nose: A lovely, mature nose of tropical fruit – apricot, pineapple and melon with hints of lemon and sawdusty oak. Beautifully poised and elegant.

Palate: Soft and buttery with a considerable amount of oak. The tropical fruit and barley  is well buried but just about discernible as is the citrus.

Finish: With that amount of oak it comes as no surprise that the finish is a little drying and bitter.

Conclusion: A pleasant, mature whisky, which has almost succumbed to the oak.

Old Pulteney 40 year old 51.3%

Bourbon – Sherry/ Tasted: Feb 2013

A deep, dark and malty nose showing some lovely nutty (hazelnut and pecan) notes along with briny sherrywood spices, light treacle coated dried fruit and oodles of mature sawdusty American oak. Lightly oiled and stunningly deep with hints of timeworn heather and camphor and a touch of toffee’d honey. Wonderfully fragrant with some light, pulped tropical fruits and beautifully sweet spices emerging. Wow! This is just so complex and evolving!

The palate opens with some light treacle coated dried fruit, dark chocolate and nuts along with hints of  moist fruit cake and some gently building brine. The American oak follows bringing a touch of violet, camphor, subtle earthy-peat an generous sherry spices. A beautifully fresh middle leaving the lightly oiled American oak to come through along with a slightly mature tropical fruit note and a coastal citrus twist. Sublimely long with the lemon rind and salty notes joined by a little light tannin, which adds to the crumbly spice finish. The reality is that words cannot adequately describe the magnificence of the whisky!

It’s presented in a substantial box with a book tracing the history of the distillery and the hand blown bottle, capped with a polished stone stopper, is decorated with silver waves, blown across the glass while the metal was molten. Definitely fitting packaging for a truly sublime whisky.

Old Pulteney WK499 Isabella Fortuna ‘2nd Release’ 46%

Tasted: Mar 2012

The palate opens with some cream-coffee, fleshy apricot along with a touch of earthy-peat and gentle maritime notes. It’s pleasant enough although the aromas are very unfocused and sort of hint at something tropical but never quite get there. Given this is a travel retail bottling I get the feeling that this is a vatting of some young and old spirit that isn’t good enough for the standard distillery bottlings.

A straightforward, unchallenging palate showing more than a touch of caramel. Some gentle fruit and spice mingles with some creamy oak, but the oak has a tired demeanour. Rather lacking in depth with some confected moments. The finish is very maritime but it again it reinforces the belief that there is some tired old spirit here.

Old Pulteney ‘Row to the Pole’ 46% 35cl

Tasted: Mar 2012

Aromas of old, burnished wood and clean sherried dried fruit are killed stone dead by caramel. This is not a guess as it states that caramel has been used on the label. If you have a bottle, give it a shake and you will see a layer of caramel appear on the surface like an oil slick. Maybe there’s a touch of something tropical underneath, but maybe I’m just imagining it!

The palate is flat, artificially sweet with some dried fruit, buckets of caramel, a bit of alcohol and some bitter oak. Flat and very, very disappointing.

Old Pulteney Navigator 46%

Bourbon/ Sherry

Tasted: Apr 2014

Fresh and fruity aromas of apricot, lemon and sweet American oak. Quite maritime with hints of rich sherried dried fruit and malt. The American oak is quite prominent and becomes quite creamy and with time the fruit develops a perfumed character. Very fragrant and very well balanced.

The palate is fresh, opening with a little natural caramel, followed by fleshy apricot, apple and hints of dried fruit. Gently spiced and malty on the middle with the sherried dried fruit developing. Good salty finish with some late perfumed and spice note. The saltiness really lingers!

Old Pulteney Navigator 46%

Re-Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Lightly herbal with sweet-ish barley and orange with hints of cumin, nutmeg, earth and with time a touch of toffee.

Palate: Soft and relatively simple with oily barley, citrus and hints of herbs. Good depth and roundness though.

Finish: Long, crisp and citric with a light botanical spirit note coming through.

Conclusion: Relatively simple but pleasant enough

 

 

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