Booze Review

Whisky Review – Old Pulteney 12 Year Old


Before we get to our review of the Old Pulteney 12, let’s get some facts and figures about the distillery:

  • Located in the town of Wick, the distillery was founded in 1826.
  • Prior to 2012, which is the year that the Wolfburn distillery opened its doors in the town of Thurso, Old Pulteney was the northernmost distillery in mainland Scotland. Scapa and Highland Park, which are located on the Orkney Islands, are THE northernmost distilleries in Scotland.
  • The core range of Old Pulteney whiskies includes 12, 17, and 21 year old expressions. Their whisky portfolio also includes several limited edition expressions along with several “travel retail only” expressions.

Now that we have that wee bit of information out of the way, this is what Old Pulteney has to say about their 12 Year Old expression:

Matured wholly in air-dried, hand-selected ex-bourbon casks, the ‘unashamedly excellent’ Old Pulteney 12-years-old is the definitive expression in the Old Pulteney family.

Traditionally crafted using techniques that other distillers have long abandoned, this winner of numerous gold medals at the most prestigious international competitions is a high water-mark of quality spirits.

And here are our impressions of this whisky…

  • Appearance: Pale copper color.
  • ABV: 43%
  • Aroma
    • Limpd: Quite vapory when I first went in for a sniff which I wasn’t expecting given the 43% ABV. Once it opened up, I picked up some menthol, licorice, and vanilla.
    • G-LO: Good bit of alcohol vapor at the start. Once I work past that, lots of fruity notes emerge along with some spices. Cinnamon, salted caramel, raisins, and brandied peaches.
  • Taste
    • Limpd: Velvety smooth mouthfeel with mild sugars and a mild chili pepper heat. Very easy drinking with no rough edges and a long, warming finish.
    • G-LO: Starts off lightly sweet with a medium mouthfeel, i.e. just a wee bit oily. Cinnamon spice kicks in at mid-palate with dried fruit coming through too. The finish brings it all together and adds a bit of salted caramel. Semi-dry aftertaste with lingering baking spices.

The Verdict

Limpd: Overall, there’s nothing spectacular going on here. Just a solid, mature spirit that would make a great table whisky, i.e. an excellent everyday dram. In case you were wondering, that’s a very good thing!

G-LO: It’s been awhile since I’ve had anything from Old Pulteney. I remember enjoying it way back when, and I’m happy to report that I’m enjoying it now too. But I don’t love it because of an odd note that I picked up in the aftertaste which I can’t quite figure out. Very minor quibble aside, I’m with Limpd on this one. Nothing spectacular, but solid and highly drinkable nonetheless.

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Many thanks to Stephanie Fray of Conundrum Marketing for sending us this very generous sample!

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