Classic Highland Dram – Old Pulteney 17 year 46%

First up in our Bombay Malt & Cigar club’s blind tasting surprise evening was a familiar friend in a slightly different age that we ordinarily encounter.

Which seemed to be exactly what our whisky curator wanted to achieve – trip us up with a less usual avatar of a well-known whisky.


Old Pulteney 17 year 46%

Here is what we discovered:

  • Nose – Sweet caramel, lots of vanilla, hint of flowers, hay with a touch of dry wood, none of the typical fruity elements, except perhaps pear?
  • Palate – Initially lots of sugar, think warm peaches or apple sauce, very smooth without a single harsh element, nicely balanced with substance
  • Finish – Pleasant then absent

The smoothness was remarkable – particularly as the 1st dram of the evening there was none of the typical 1st sip reactions. A superb choice to start off our tasting!

Our speculations about region began as a default of Speyside (so many come from that region it is an easy pick!) but as we became more acquainted with the whisky, highland became the region of choice.

We pronounced it quite ‘classic’, well constructed, balanced, and while not complex, a quite lovely beginning to our evening.

With the reveal… some surprise.

Typically in recent Old Pulteney whiskies, the maritime quality is quite pronounced – particularly in the standard 12 year and the superb 21 year. What stands apart from many others is that slightly briney salty edge.

Until we were told the distillery, this element was not immediately discernible. Once it was known…. was it there? Naturally it seemed so (oh the power of suggestion or perhaps the inadequacies of our perceptions!)

We are no strangers to Old Pulteney either. While I may be a more recent convert thanks to Inver House entering India, another member has been a fan for decades.

He shared that this particular Old Pulteney reminded him of what the distillery used to produce years ago… a classic, enjoyable, accessible daily dram you would be happy to settle down with.

Here is what the folks over at Old Pulteney have to say:

  • Nose – Sweet with traces of apples and pears: slightly woody with a hint of butterscotch
  • Palate – Sweet with soft fruits: kiwi, guava, peach

Matured in fine oak casks, quietly breathing in the fresh sea air, Old Pulteney is the very essence of this unique place. Intricate, balanced and with a delicate mineral-salted spiciness, Old Pulteney is a distinctive and evocative spirit – truly The Maritime Malt.

It paired well with our cigars (Gurkha 17 year) and a serious dent made in its contents by the end of the night!

Coming up next in our BMC Blind Surprise tasting:

More Old Pulteney tastings in Mumbai:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

2 thoughts on “Classic Highland Dram – Old Pulteney 17 year 46%

  1. Interesting about the saltiness of this one. From what I remember of their stuff the salt was quite pronounced and although I haven’t tried the 17 year I’d have expected the same from it. It may as you say though have a lot to do with perception of the brand. I might end to test this out for myself 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you do, let me know what you think! I thought I was alone in not detecting salt but this was the case for others too. It is a classic highland with much smoother edges than I normally associate with the rugged seaworthy Old Pulteney. 🙂


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