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1998 Gordon & Macphail Pulteney Distillery Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 56.9%
Established in 1826 in Wick, Pulteney is the most northerly distillery on the Scottish mainland. In its early days, it was only accessible by sea. The barley was brought in by boat, the whisky shipped out and many of the distillery workers were also employed as fishermen. Sadly the herring fishing industry is no longer part of daily life in Wick but Pulteney distillery continues to operate.
Old Pulteney was once known as the "Manzanilla of the North" due to its dry, mildly briney taste. The house style has changed in recent times, tending towards a fruitier, mid weight dram, with only the 12 Year Old retaining its trademark austerity. It employs unpeated malt from independent maltsters and matures its whiskies primarily in bourbon and a small number of x-sherry casks. Pulteney has always been prized as a blending whisky. Yet, it's still relatively unknown as a single malt. Readers are reminded the 21 Year Old recently took out Jim Murray's World Whisky of the Year Award for 2012.
Cask Strength offerings from the Pulteney distillery are a rare treat especially at this pricepoint. Maturation has occurred in first fill American oak barrels, bottled in 2011.
Tasting note: Pale straw gold in appearance. The moderate aroma includes water crackerbiscuit, cereals and pear. Remains subdued even after exposure, although some fresher almost floral honey notes are coaxed out as well as cocoa. The palate offers a pleasant initial fruity sweetness before the spices increase and the profile turns bittersweet, tingly and warm. The spiciness persists into the aftertaste which regains some salty sweetness, before concluding with a sponge cake like character. Overall very good balance. Subtle aftertaste of dried grass and water cracker. 56.9% Alc./Vol.
n22 citrusy, with a powerful kumquat element as well as a big vanilla and a surprising rumble of natural caramels;
t23 mmmmm! What a delivery! Barley concentrate eventually giving way to a tangy saltiness missing on the nose; sharp and eye-watering and wonderfully layered;
f23 the barley plays out until the end but some cocao and spice make a near inevitable appearance; the salt also sticks around, though seasons with little less gusto than before, keeping the burgeoning sugars honest; good late oils
(92 points) - Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2013