Old Pulteney Whisky - The Maritime Whisky?
- Monday, 29 July 2013
Ruper Mackintosh reviews another Whisky but this time steers us away from hunting in the Highlands to something with a more Maritime feel.
Many distilleries are associated with maritime characteristics – salty air, seaweed, water crashing against rocks – and indeed, for one whisky to market itself as “the maritime malt” might be a bit, well, shallow really. It’s like a rooster taking credit for the dawn; it was going to happen anyway and has been happening for millennia anyway. So shaddup, rooster!
However, under no circumstance do we want Old Pulteney to shut up. Not by a long chalk, as this is a really great little dram that has so many reasons to be in your drinks cabinet.
If it’s ‘the’ maritime whisky or not, one thing that can’t be disputed is that it’s pretty far north. Dating back to 1826, in Pulteneytown, a little township created to house the fishermen who were required at Wick, then prospering thanks to the herring fishing industry. The distillery itself is noteworthy to whisky fanatics owing to its swan neckless stills (but to be fair most distilleries have some unique and interesting quirk these days), and that it actually closed for a while in the 1930s before coming back to life.
The twelve year old we are looking at today usually weighs in a bit cheaper than most other drams at this age statement. Why, I’m not so sure – I would personally pay the usual price for the privilege, but somehow they manage to keep the price down. Considering it’s overflowing with medals and awards from the last few years this is a good sign that they aren’t letting it get to them.
As a bottle, and indeed a gift, it’s pretty attractive. The neck of the bottle has the amazing replication of the distillery technology, and actually makes it really fun to pour. Also, the bottle has a really clever optical illusion to it – there is an etching of a traditional fishing boat on the back of the bottle, which when viewed at the front, looks like it’s afloat in the wonderful light golden dram. As the bottle twists in your hand the ship adjusts slightly as well, meaning you keep on doing it to see the boat!
The taste and aroma are both what I would consider mild – this would make a good stepping stone for those climbing the ladder from the highland malts. Most consider it to be a very dry malt, but I tend to be hit by the light and nimble footed body more so than the lack of weight. It does have distinctive sherry twang to it, but nowhere near as strong as some of the Islays; there is also no peat present at all.
So overall, this is a great, accessible, easy drinking malt that deserves a place in your collection. I’d struggle to find a reason not to like Old Pulteney and therefore recommend it highly.
(If you'd like to order a bottle of Old Puteney or other Whisky then simply click through to 'The Whisky Exchange' at the top of this page to place your order).