A couple years back when Old Pulteney 21 was declared Jim Murray’s whisky of the year, I said it was (in my opinion) somewhat inferior to the 17 year old. Here we are now, a couple years down the line, and I have to say that the latest releases of 21 are actually now better than the 17. More in line with the way it should be, really, especially recognizing the premium that has been levied on Pulteney since the award of said distinguished title. We’ve seen the 21 year old expression increase by at least a couple dozen dollars in the past year or two. The quality…meh. It’s still in the ballpark of where it was back then.
Pulteney is one of the Northernmost Highland distilleries in Scotland. And while the distillery doesn’t necessarily have warehouse walls that are being battered by the sea, it does actually produce a malt that stands out a little from the pack, bearing as it does, a rather pronounced coastal influence. Similar in some respects, I suppose, to Bunnahabhain or Scapa or something for bringing the briny, oceanic side to the bottle sans the hefty peat influence that we normally find in parallel with that profile (let’s face it…the briniest buggers are from Islay). It’s also a malt that has found favour among the old school cognoscenti.
This latest 17 year old? Good stuff. Well worth having a bottle around when the price looks right. Do note though, that it is not the same 17 as a few years back.
Nose: Salty and coastal, as most have noted when it comes to Pulteney. A slight putty note. Roman nougat. Reminiscent of almond paste, or Indian sweets. Almost a distant smokiness. Cream of wheat. Lemon zest. Is that caramelized pineapple?
Palate: Still getting that smoky note. And waxy. A touch of lime. Oak. Orange, pear and a little apple. Black currants. Very old school and appealing palate.
Thoughts: Not as strong an outing as the Pulteney 17 of a couple years back, but a great whisky nevertheless.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt
Never cared for the OP12, and now you say the 17 has dropped in quality? I guess this malt joins Bunna in my “never buy again” category.
There’s always gonna be some batch variation. I wouldn’t yet say this is dropping in quality. If I try it again in the future and it’s weaker, then yes, I would say it’s declining, but right now, let’s just say it’s a different batch from what I’d tried before. Sounds like a safe answer, but let’s face it…whisky will slightly fluctuate from batch to batch. No big deal unless it becomes a downward trend.
Curt, was the batch we tried for the recent dram initiative the new 17 or a bottle from back in the day?
That was the newer one. What did you think? Agree or disagree with the sentiments above?
I was a big fan of it. I thought it was very easy drinking and I liked that ocean side quality of it. Having said that I had only had it before a couple years back and at a festival so don’t really know what it was like before. I almost purchased a bottle of the 17 at kwm this Saturday based on our tasting.