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Old Pulteney 17 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 46%
Established in 1826 in Wick, Pulteney Distillery is the most northerly distillery on the Scottish mainland. In its early days, the distillery 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. Gone are the days when one could walk from pier to pier with dry feet, crossing on the decks of a Herring armada and barrels of silver (Herring) accompanied barrels of gold (Whisky).
Pulteney Distillery continues to operate with its unique wash still (legend has it the goose neck was cut off by the distillery manager when the newly delivered still was too tall to fit in the building), now part of the Inverhouse group. The heritage of Wick is strongly portrayed in the presentation of Old Pulteney, with its distinctive, still shaped bottle, screen printed with a traditional Wick herring drifter. The latest release of the 17 year old is a non chill-fitered, ex-Bourbon expression, with a dash of PX and Oloroso matured spirit that adds complexity. Shy at first, it is a whisky that rewards those who contemplate and savor their dram patiently.
Tasting Notes: [Tasted from a bottle one third full] This is a marked improvement on our last tasting with none of the frustrating sulphury notes evident but the complexity retained. The nose has the same beguiling, chamelion like quality that we remember from the last tasting. Clear, pale straw/gold colour. Some sweet Sherry influence on the nose at first? Or is that vanillan oak? Now definitely fruity with an amazing burst of peppermint. The fruit / mint interplay continues with time in the glass but then more oatmeal / biscuity malt emerges. A soft entry leads into a medium to full bodied palate, pleasantly spicy, with a delicious, restrained sweet fruit burst at mid palate. Stays focused and dry through the finish. Perfect balance. Spices persist into the lengthy pear, vanilla aftertaste - and not a trace of sulphur. This stands in the shadow of the 21YO, but during our tasting many considered it equal to or better than the whisky of the year. Top stuff! 46% Alc./Vol.
Other Reviews: (95 Points) - (n22) Tight, but does all that is possible to reveal its salty, fruity complexity with pears and lemons to the fore; (t25) one of the softest, most beautifully crafted deliveries in the whisky world. Absolutely faultless as it picks the most fabulous course among the honeyed vanilla and barley which is so delicate, words cannot do it justice; (f24) near perfect balance between the vanillas and delicate honeys (b24) the nose confirms that some of the casks at work here are not A1. Even so, the whisky performs to the kind of levels some distilleries could only dream of. - Jim Murray Whisky Bible 2013