Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Single Malt Savings: Old Pulteney 12yr

At this time of year I am particularly strapped for cash - Christmas isn't long gone, en primeur season (wine stuff) is in full swing and I need to start saving for summer holidays. These are the standard issues that face everyone as far as I'm aware and as such I need to tighten my belt and shop about for a real good value whisky.

Up until now I haven't tried Old Pulteney, it's a whisky that I know of, it's highly recommended by many malt gurus such as Ralfy and is quite often on sale in supermarkets. At the moment Asda have dropped their price for the 12 yr to £23 from £30.50, a huge saving and a price that should grab your attention.

Old Pulteney is a Highland distillery and is the northernmost of mainland Scotland (Highland Park being northerniermost) based in the port town of Wick, which I'm sure we are all aware was the premier herring fishing port in Europe not so long ago.

Old Pulteney features this fishing heritage greatly in it's labels, tin etc and the bottle's unique shape derives from the smuggler's kettle at the distillery (a squat still without a swan neck) further entrenching the heritage of this almost 200 year old distillery.

On the nose, sweet spice and caramel come through in an instant with brine and sea washing in. There are more notes of citrus, pepper and seaweed. This is a really nice crisp and refreshing nose that clears the airways - it has a lot more going on that you may expect for such a lowly priced bottle -  a nice complexity, but is really open, friendly and accessible. The peat is present, but there's just a touch it adds a nice extra dimension to the floral and fruit notes.

On the palate the salty air character comes to the fore with spice following on with citrus in lemon and orange peel, pepper, honey and vanilla with tropical fruit. The palate isn't quite as robust as the nose and too much water could easily drown it, add only the tiniest dash to open it up. The finish is really good, this malt has decent length with all the flavours well integrated and no one overbearing flavour drowning anything out all knocking things off balance.

This is a fantastic and surprisingly complex whisky for the price. It's nice and fresh, will do well in the summer months as it is a bit lighter and still has the peat notes for all you Islay nutters. The 12 yr stands up well to all the other drams in it's price bracket and I would have no qualms chucking down a little over £30 for it.

Pick up Old Pulteney 12 yr for £23 at Asda or £25.50 at Waitrose

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