Highland Salt – Old Pulteney Dunnet Head 46%

We continued with the Old Pulteney… And I have to admit this is one I’d had in my cupboard since the summer of 2017.

I remember picking up the Old Pulteney at Heathrow airport. It was a morning flight and yet I did my “due diligence” sampling different drams at the World of Whiskies. What I won’t do for our Mumbai tasting groups!

The whisky is part of their Lighthouse series named for the Dunnet Head lighthouse built in 1831 by Robert Stevenson (Grandfather of the author Robert Louis Stevenson).

And what did our Whisky Ladies think?

Old Pulteney Dunnet Head 46%

  • Nose – Bright oranges, a bit musty initially, then revealed a lovely sea salt, some vanilla, more citrus and even a hint of cocoa
  • Palate – Yummy!! Has real substance and amazingly well-balanced with sweet spices, fruit – especially pear, lightly smokey with that caramel salt too.
  • Finish – Nice, long and lingering

There was no doubt this whisky was a hit with our Whisky Ladies. Many remarked on how it was sooooo tasty!

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

  • Appearance – Old Brass.
  • Nose – Warming and sweet, with notes of spices, bitter chocolate and a whiff of a freshly varnished deck. Lemon and creamy vanilla overtones offer balance and brightness.
  • Taste – Rich fruit cake, sultanas and salted caramel give way to a touch of leather and fragrant floral top note; a long smooth finish.

Other Old Pulteney’s sampled include:

What else did we try that evening?

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Whisky Ladies “Bar Bottle” – Glenmorangie, Old Pulteney, Compass Box, Ardmore

We had different plans for this evening – a much anticipated combined night with our Bombay Malt & Cigar gents… However it was not do be so what to do instead?

We thought why not reach into our bars and see what was available to share…

Here is what we unearthed:

It turned out every bottle could be purchased (at one time) at duty-free and yet each was certainly a cut above the standard travel retail fare.

It also just so happened that each had a touch of smoke… from a mere hint with the Old Pulteney and Glenmorangie to a more pronounced puff of peat with the Compass Box Great King Street Glasgow Blend and Armore Triple Wood Peat.

In an unplanned twist, all three single malts were also from Highland distilleries… with the delightful Compass Box blend a terrific foil with some highland whiskies too.

Overall it proved to be a most enjoyable quartet and a good reminder to not dismiss what you may find when perusing airport wares – at least in some select airports around the world!

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Old Pulteney 17 year 46% revisited

Sometimes it is nice to be reminded of how much you enjoy a particular distillery and its whiskies. We had just such an opportunity with our Scottish “classic” evening…

Naturally half the fun was tasting completely blind with the reveal only at the end. Here is what we found…

Old Pulteney 17 year 46%

  • Colour – Copper
  • Nose – Sweet perfume, floral, vanilla, a touch of salty brine, chocolate, butterscotch, so familiar and inviting, toffee, some gentle sherry influence. After the 1st sip we found marzipan, almonds, light sweet citrus like a lemon cake. As it opened even more, there was a hint of smoke. As we let it sit even longer, the citrus shifted into a lively orange peel oil.
  • Palate – Soft sweet spice with some salt. A lovely complexity, sweet lime, lightly bitter with a subtle touch of tobacco leaf, a wisp or puff of smoke, so beautifully balance
  • Finish – Ends on a sweet note, gentle spice, really quite beautiful, a bit of liquorice
  • Water – Mellows it out… some preferred with and some without

We all really enjoyed this whisky and found it quite lovely, with a “feel good” character. While exceedingly easy to drink, it also had complexity and kept evolving. We all were confident that it must be Scottish and clearly well crafted. It also had all the hallmarks of an ex-Bourbon cask with a bit of ex-Sherry too.

A few of us kept remarking how there was something so completely familiar about it. We settled on Highland, one even mentioned Old Pulteney, another an old style Balvenie.

And our reaction to the reveal that it was an Old Pulteney 17 year?

Delight! An excellent reminder of how this whisky is simply one good dram.

Naturally this was one of many enjoyable evenings with Old Pulteney of which a few included:

Our original tasting group took an evening with a classic Scottish trio:

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Scottish Trio – Linkwood, Old Pulteney, Royal Brackla

Sometimes you just want to enjoy classic styled whiskies… with a flight that has a straight forward age progression from younger to older… no experimentation, just a standard combination of ex-bourbon cask and ex-sherry maturation.

That is exactly what we did this month, sampling each malt blind… And yet it wasn’t entirely as “traditional” an experience as one would think…

Our original tasting group went “traditional” with a Scottish trio:

Curious to know more about what we found? Just click on the whisky links above and get all the juicy details!

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Highland Hijinks – Old Pulteney 12 year 40%

Up first in our “Highland Hijinks” evening was Old Pulteney – for many this was a revisit of a familiar friend, for others it was an introduction.

Normally we taste only from closed bottles with the contributor taking the remaining home to enjoy with others.

However this was an exception – opened just a month earlier with IBHL’s Digital Marketing head Samantha Peter during her visit to India. As only a select set of Malty Mumbaikers could join that private evening, it seemed only fitting that the remaining whisky wander its way to the Whisky Ladies.

Which means both this bottle had oxidized a bit and was courtesy of our friends over at Old Pulteney.

And what did the Whisky Ladies think?

Old Pulteney 12 year 40%

  • Nose – A delicious mild apple cinnamon, a bit of zing and spice, peaches and apricots, a little wood, some brine, kept evolving shifting into a light refreshing perfume spray, lots of toffee
  • Palate – Sweet, restrained, honey with a bit of chillies too, citrus, coriander seeds, caramel, with the spice at the back
  • Finish – Lightly bitter, salted almonds, mild yet of surprising length
  • Water – No desire to add

Overall it was most satisfying. For many the aroma was the best part and they kept coming back to take a whiff and enjoy.

And when we finished trying our Highland trio, several came back to the Old Pulteney remarking how it really held its own – even at 40%.

What did the Whisky Ladies sample in our night of “Highland Hijinks“?

Other Old Pulteney tasting experiences:

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Whisky Ladies Highland Hijinks – Old Pulteney, Glenmorangie, Aberfeldy

When we have whisky tasting themes, it tends to be “anchored” by something our host has to share. Which is exactly what inspired  our Whisky Ladies June 2018 session…

It began with a bottle of Glenmorangie and was augmented by two more highlands…

What did the Whisky Ladies sample in our night of Highland Hijinks?

I simply couldn’t help throwing into the mix something that had nothing whatsoever to do with the Highlands… It is the kind of whisky you want to share with others, just to see what they discover!

Just check out the links above to read the full tasting experience…

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Whisky Live Singapore – Old Pulteney

A highlight from 2016 was attending the Old Pulteney Masterclass at Whisky Live Singapore.

Andy Hannah, Global Brands Development Manager of International Beverages, took us on a journey… providing my 1st sip of their new make spirit and an opportunity to revisit the 12, 17 and 21 year side-by-side.

2016-11-13-old-pulteney

New make spirit 69%

  • Nose – Very organic, meaty, vegetative, light sulfur, walnut, leather, clean and robust
  • Palate – An initial sting, then rich, quite remarkable how fruity it was on the palate
  • Finish – Oily, lasts and lasts

Very forward, bursting with character.

2016-11-13-old-pulteney-12

Old Pulteney 12 year 40%

  • Nose – A suggestion of salt, sugared nuts, vegetative, returned to find a splash of sweet spices
  • Palate – Easy, light citrus, honey sweet, floral, smooth
  • Finish – Short, snappy finish

Andy called this their everyday “all round dram” – easy to see why with such an approachable whisky. He also noted that if you are in the US expect to find it at 43% vs the balance of the world bottled at 40%.

2016-11-13-old-pulteney-17Old Pulteney 17 year 46%

  • Nose – Delightful citrus, tropical, peaches, guava, toffee
  • Palate – Full and chewy style, more substance, soaked rains, lots of pears, More complexity, full mouth feel, more pronounced and intense, apricots, lots going on
  • Finish – Dry and spicy
  • Water – Can open up but don’t drown! (my personal preference is without water)

Andy described the 17 year as the “brother – forthright with lots to say” noting it is matured in oloroso sherry with a different style than the 12 or even 21 year Old Pulteney.

Old Pulteney 21 year 46% 

  • Nose – Soft, light, fresh fruits – particularly apple, pear, warm
  • Palate – Coats the tongue beautifully, creamy spice yet soft. Wonderful, elegant, creamy mouthfeel with a hint of smoke
  • Finish – Dry finish
  • Water – Again can add but… really… why mess with a good thing?

Andy described the 21 year as the “refined, elegant sister.” Some comments around the table noted that it is far too easy to drink and hence quite dangerous!

Andy also shared this was the 2012 Jim Murray Whisky Bible world whisky of the year, with the influence of sherry, yet in a different direction than the 17 year.

2016-11-13-old-pulteney-2

Discussion then turned to queries about the Lighthouse range – Dunnet HeadNoss Head, Duncansby Head. Andy shared while all are NAS, they typically are 8-10 years.

Then queries about what makes the 89 Vintage so special? Andy called it a “happy accident” as it was matured in a cask that previously held Islay whisky so there was a soft peat touch.

When asked if there are likely to be more single casks released – he confirmed quite likely as and when something interesting is found.

Overall it was a mighty fine way to experience Old Pulteney with their affable knowledgable global brand manager.

Old Pulteney

PS – I was fortunate to be a guest at Whisky Live Singapore, courtesy of InterBev

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Whisky Ladies enjoy Old Pulteney 21 year 46%

This wasn’t my first rodeo with the Old Pulteney 21 year – I had the pleasure of sampling it at a master class with Stuart Harvey and then with Andy Hannah at Whisky Live Singapore.

old-pulteney-21-yr

However it was a 1st for the Whisky Ladies and a treat to share as the ‘kick off’ to our November session.

What did the ladies find?

  • Nose – Mmmm… apples, pears, light flirtatious flowers, honey, salted caramel, ginger snap spice
  • Palate – Salty sweet pepper, beautiful complex flavours, wonderfully syrupy, soft fruit, oily, thick on the tongue, nicely chewy, well balanced, slightly smokey quality
  • Finish – Delightful dry cinnamon spice, tinge of bitterness in a good way

Then commenced a healthy debate on differences between tasting in a Glencairn glass vs Norlan glass… Our standard is to sample using the Glencairn, however one whisky lady returned from Canada with an early Christmas gift of a pair of Norlan glasses.

For many the Glencairn glass brought out more pronounced aromas, brighter more intense whereas the Norlan softened, rounded and blended the elements. On the palate, most preferred the Norlan as it enabled the flavours to shine muting the ‘alcohol’… which happened to also make the Old Pulteney dangerously easy to drink.

One remarked that Glencairn brought out the academic elements where one could distinguish the apples from honey from spice whereas the Norlan brought everything together creating a more sociable, approachable and companionable whisky.

Bottom line, the whisky was a perfect start to our evening!

The Whisky ladies experimental evening followed with:

PS The Old Pulteney 21 year was compliments of InterBev.

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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

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:

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BMC go ‘blind’ – Old Pulteney 17 year, Westland Sherry, Amrut Bourbon

Til date, our Bombay Malt & Cigar (BMC) gents have proudly shown off their bottles. And who wouldn’t? We’ve had some rare treats like the Balblair 38 year or whiskies all filled by hand.

However sometimes half the fun of a whisky tasting evening is to have a surprise – discover something new about a distillery you thought you could readily spot or have your notions challenged by something completely different than expected!

Our most recent BMC night adopted a ‘blind tasting’ approach, with our whisky curator carefully covering each bottle. He was rather excited to see what we thought before the unveiling… prompting us to try to guess the region, if not distillery.

old-pulteney-westland-amrut

What did we sample? And what did we guess?

Gleefully the whiskies were uncovered to show that while we guessed the right region for the Old Pulteney and the distillery was named at one point, it didn’t have the clear maritime stamp we now associate with Old Pulteney…

As for Westland? Wow! I will confess to shouting out my delight as it proves once again the folks there know exactly what they are doing!

And Amrut? The verdict is still out…

If we were betting, the house clearly would have won this round!

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