Old Pulteney Tasting Notes

Old Pulteney

I do love trying something different. Over the years I’ve come across many a gem, whether it’s in the spirits, beer or wine world. Some stick in your head, some your forget about and wonder why when they re-appear. Old Pulteney does just that to me. I’ve had this brand many a time, but never owned a bottle, and never think about it when talking whisky, despite being a name you have all probably heard of.

Well i think it’s a bout time we give the brand a proper chance.

Old Pulteney was founded back in 1826 by a gentleman named James Henderson at the height of the town of Wick’s celebrated herring boom, located at the most northerly on the British mainland, the home of Sir William Pulteney back in 1810. In those days, road link weren’t as common, so they relied on the sea to transport their barrels of silver (herring) and gold (whisky). Another unique point to the whisky brand comes in the shape of its still. Instead of the usual ‘swans neck’ that you see in most distilleries, legend has it that Old Pulteney, when they were installing it, found it was too tall for the still house, so the manager simply decided to cut the top off! In recognition of this, the Old Pulteney bottle incorporates a bulbous neck to reflect the shape of the stills.

1920 saw the distillery bought by James Watson & Co, but only three years later saw Buchanan-Dewar take over and become a part of the Distillers Company Limited (DCL) in 1925. During times of trouble in the industry, the distillery closed in 1930 for the next 21 years when a solicitor named Robert Cumming acquired the company. Between 1955 and 1995, the distillery went under the ownership of James & George Stodart Ltd (1955), Allied Breweries (1961), Inverhouse Distillers (1995) and International Beverages Holdings (2001), with the distillery also getting a face-lift in 1958.

So although it has changed hands a couple of times, has the quality of the whisky suffered? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Old PulteneyOld Pulteney 12yr – 40%

Matured in ex-bourbon casks. Rather dry on the nose with aromas of fruit and vanilla slowly making an appearance. Again quite dry on the palate, with hints of salt and smoke initially and becomes rather bitter at the end.

Old Pulteney 17yr – 46%

Matured in Spanish Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez casks. Sweet nose of white fruit and butter with a scent of wood on the nose. Rounded hits of vanilla on the palate with the white fruit more delicate on the long finish.

Old Pulteney 21yr – 46%

A good hit of pear and apple on the nose with a little spice following nicely. Sweet on the palate with flavours of vanilla and honey making its presence. Dry finish.

And part of the Old Pulteney ‘Lighthouse’ Series – 

Old Pulteney Noss Head – 46%

Matured in ex-bourbon barrels. Light lemons and oranges on the nose, Sweet on the palate with a good dose of spice that develops into a warm finish of orange and coconut.

Old Pulteney Duncansby Head – 46%

Matured in ex-bourbon casks and Spanish ex-sherry casks. Sweet honey and a hint of chocolate orange on the nose. Smooth and soft on the palate, with the sherry oak coming through before being displaced by the orange and chocolate flavours. Lingers.

Old Pulteney Pentland Skerries – 46%

Matured in Spanish ex-sherry butts. Lots of fresh raisin and chocolate on the nose which carries on to the palate, adding flavours of sherry and subtle spice to the mix to draw out a long finish.

Some great expressions, and rather hard to choose between for which could be my favourite. There’s a 30yr, an Old Pulteney Liqueur and WK217 to try yet, so you never know, this could be the first time where I could be enjoying them all in my collection. Care to help me find out for yourself?

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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York Whisky Festival 2012 Review

Last year I became lucky enough to experience two whisky festivals organised by The Whisky Lounge. I happened to be in York for a weekend and heard that the Whisky Festival was in town, so naturally I decided to spend the afternoon there.

I targeted the whiskies I knew I hadn’t tried in Manchester, as well as some favourites, so below, I give to you my tasting notes on each –

Kilchoman Machir Bay 2012 – 46%

A good combination of smoke and malt on the nose, with a mix of pepper, chocolate and spice on the palate that creates a long-lasting finish.

Kilchoman 2006 Vintage Release – 46%

Delicate smoke with hints of spice on the nose. Bitter orange takes over on the palate with smoke flavours dominating a lingering finish.

Kilbeggan 18yr – 40%

Dominating vanilla on the nose with hints of cinnamon aromas following. Both cinnamon and vanilla present on the palate with the addition of caramel throwing itself in to create a long, sweet dram.

Glen Garioch 12yr – 48%

A mix of fudge and pear blend well on the nose to create a sweet offering. The palate is rather sharp to begin with but mellows quickly. Ripe banana moves to a slight smoke and salt flavour with the pear notes coming through at the end.

Hakushu 12yr – 43.5%

Fresh nose of green fruit with a whisp of smoke lingering. Sweetness on the palate, with pear dominating and the soft smoke creating a dry texture.

Yamazaki 12yr – 43%

A bold floral mix with tropical fruits blending nicely on the nose. Smooth sweetness on the palate with a little spice and wood finish.

Hibiki 12yr – 43%

Lots of pineapple and plum aromas blending nicely on the nose and following through onto the palate to create a soft and sweet flavour. A little spice on the end.

Tullibardine Aged Oak Edition – 40%

Citrus and barley on the nose with a slight aroma of chocolate followed by a vanilla and nut mix on the palate. Rather oily texture to begin but becomes rather dry near the finish.

Tullibardine Rum Finish – 46%

Toffee and vanilla dominating on the nose and palate with a rather sweet offering and a hint of spice. Heavy dose of rum which helps onto a long finish.

Balvenie PortWood 21yr – 40%

A strong yet fresh floral aroma with sweet notes and a hint of smoke on the nose. An extremely smooth and creamy flavour of fruit and honey on the palate.

Berry Bros. Speyside Reserve – 46%

Citrus and honey aromas on the nose with a slight nut scent following. Rather rich on the palate with fruits and malt combining well despite a slightly dry finish.

Speyburn 10yr – 40%

Fresh lemon scents on the nose which develops into fruit flavours on the palate. Sweet toffee also makes an appearance on the long finish.

Speyburn Bradan Orach – 40%

Green fruit mixes nicely with subtle vanilla on the nose. Delicate honey on the palate to begin-with but moves onto a smooth spicy finish.

Old Pulteney 17yr – 46%

Sweet nose of white fruit and butter with a scent of wood on the nose. Rounded hits of vanilla on the palate with the white fruit more delicate on the long finish.

Old Pulteney 21yr – 46%

A good hit of pear and apple on the nose with a little spice following nicely. Sweet on the palate with flavours of vanilla and honey making its presence. Dry finish.

Balbair 2002 – 46%

Floral fruits on the nose with hints of vanilla and toffee following, A good mix of spice and sweetness on the palate with orange and lemons dominating.

Balbair 1989 – 46%

Apple and raisin notes on the nose and then combines with spice flavours on the palate. A long, rich offering with raisin dominating throughout.

Balbair 1975 – 46%

Fresh citrus and coconut notes on the nose. Sweet and spicy on the palate with honey and fruits on the finish. Warming.

Arran 14yr – 46%

Dry notes of vanilla and toffee on the nose but a good hit of toffee on the palate. Chocolate and spice develops a rich sweetness on the finish.

Arran 12yr Cask Strength – 54.1%

Peach and apricot noticeably delicate on the nose, with fresh fruit and spice blending nicely on the palate with a slight kick of citrus at the end.

Arran Sauternes Cask Finish – 50%

Aromas of honey and marzipan on the nose, with citrus, spice and vanilla combining over a long finish with a hint of oak.

Arran Amarone Finish – 50%

Scents of honey and almonds fill the nose whilst chocolate and cherry flavours create a well-balanced match on the palate. Slight oak finish.

Arran Port Finish – 57%

Dry vanilla and citrus on the nose, with spice added to the mix on the palate. A good combination that develops a warmth on the finish.

Arran Machrie Moor Peated – 46%

Fudge hints on the nose that’s dominated by peat. Citrus and spice start off the palate, but smoke flavours follow quickly on a lingering finish.

Longmorn 16yr – 48%

Fresh nose of apple and herbs. Citrus creates a rich palate combining with spice and oak which leads to a dry finish.

Strathisla 12yr – 40%

Soft nose of floral and spice. A good malt flavour on the palate with a good hit of fruit on the long finish.

Chivas Regal 18yr – 40%

Orange and vanilla notes combine on the nose and palate, with hints of wood lingering. Spice flavours revealed near the long finish.

Glenlivet 15yr French Oak Reserve – 40%

Rich butter aromas on the nose with oak following. A combination of fruit and nut with spice and cinnamon making an appearance. Lingering finish of spice.

Glenlivet Nadurra Cask Strength 16yr – 54.2%

Fresh, rich aromas of apple and vanilla on the nose. Slight spice on the palate, with vanilla and soft fruits bursting on a dry finish.

Glenlivet 18yr – 43%

Rich toffee and fruit notes on the nose with honey and walnut flavours mixing with spice as it nears the long ending on the palate.

Glenlivet 21yr – 43%

Cereal and honey aromas create a rich nose, whilst a sweet ginger and cinnamon offering on the palate developing towards a warm, long ending.

Glenrothes 1998 – 43%

Rich vanilla and lemon-grass on the nose with hints of spice following. Rather soft on the palate with flavours of sweet vanilla and cinnamon blending well.

Glenrothes 1995 – 43%

Light citrus and spice on the nose with biscuit and cinnamon mixing nicely. A rich spice on the palate with a cocoa and coffee dry finish.

Glenrothes 1988 – 43%

Rich spice and berry notes on the nose with a hint of orange coming through. Orange and ginger combine well on the palate with a long, creamy finish.

Highland Park 18yr – 43%

Rich oak nose with hints of smoak, honey and floral aromas near the end. Soft honey and creamy spice on the palate with a long lingering peat finish.

Highland Park 21yr – 47.5%

Sweet toffee on the nose with hints of sherry creeping through. Sweetness carries onto the palate with flavours of smoke and spice to round it off.

Macallan Gold – 40%

A good blend of vanilla and citrus on the nose with fresh fruit, vanilla and toffee creating a short spice finish.

Laphroaig 18yr – 48%

Toffee nose with hints of cereal and spice leads to a warm yet rounded flavour of smoke and liquorice on the palate. A long, rich toffee finish.

Laphroaig Triple Wood – 48%

Dry nuts mix with a dominant sweet raisin aroma on the nose. A kick of peat on the palate leading to a vanilla, caramel and dried fruit finish.

Ardmore 25yr – 51.4%

Marzipan, peat and dark fruit dominate the nose with the peat continuing onto the palate with the rich fruits slowly following. Long, fresh finish.

Glenfiddich Rich Oak – 40%

Soft fruit notes on the nose with slight oak whispers. Rather soft and short on the palate, but a fruity offering with rich vanilla thrown in.

Some fantastic whiskies on offer yet again at the York leg of the show. There’s some on the list above that I probably will never get round to trying again so to attend a show like this can really throw towards you some real gems. Highlights for me include Kilchoman 2006, Hibiki 12yr, both Speyburn’s, Balbair 2002, Old Pulteney 21yr, Arran Machrie Moor, all the Glenlivet’s I tried as well as the Laphroaig 18yr.

If you like whisky, then you will love attending these festivals. If you’re not a lover, you can be pointed into the direction of some of the more introductory whiskies on offer in the world. This is the best thing about this category – love it or hate it, there will always be something to convert or possibly soften your initial thought.

Sláinte.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Manchester Whisky Festival 2012 Review

The Palace Hotel in Manchester was the host of the biggest whisky festival outside of London, so big in fact that there had to be two sessions and two floors. The Whisky Lounge were the proud organisers for the 4th year in a row and had on offer the crème de la crème of the whisky world from both Scotland and Ireland, and even threw in Japan, England and America for good measure. Part of the Manchester Food & Drink Festival, there would be a host of seminars and masterclasses on offer including The Magnificent Seven, hosted by Colin Dunn of Diageo, which took you through an in-depth look into their varied portfolio. Joe Clark of The Whisky Lounge also offered his advice for novices of whisky festivals and helped pave the way of how to get the most out of the drams on offer. To cap the morning session off, Ryan Williams of Buffalo Trace was to be on hand to guide enthusiasts through the award-winning distillery and their delights. This year I myself didn’t participate in any of the workshops on offer, but took full advantage of scanning the list for new additions, rare offerings and old favourites – including a rum from the guys at Berry Bros and Rudd.

Below, in order I sampled, I give to you my tasting notes on the mornings offerings –

Auchentoshan Valinch – 57.5%

The Classic at cask strength. Floral and very clean on the nose with a sweet maltness and a creamy flavour on the palate. Lingering finish. Smoother with drops of water with a slight power kick at the end.

Suntory Yamazaki 12yr – 43%

Light on the nose with aromas of honey, vanilla and peach. Becomes a little sweeter on the palate with spice lingering and a long finish.

Bowmore Tempest Batch No. 3 –55.6%

Very dry on the nose with a balanced mix of peat and smoke. Still rather dry once it hits the palate, but develops flavours of lemon and salt with a peppery finish.

Hazelburn 12yr – 46%

Bold with lots of dry fruits on the nose with hints of sherry lingering near the end. Rather spicy on the palate with a rich oak flavour and hints of chocolate on the long finish.

Old Pulteney 12yr – 40%

Rather dry on the nose with aromas of fruit and vanilla slowly making an appearance. Again quite dry on the palate, with hints of salt and smoke initially and becomes rather bitter at the end.

Elmer T. Lee – 45%

On the nose, a very light offering of vanilla and butterscotch creates a smooth, soft and slightly sweet aroma. A sweeter taste of honey and vanilla with some intense fruits on the palate creates a rather creamier bourbon to almost class it as a dessert wine.

Hancock’s President Reserve 44.45%

Instant sweetness on the nose with aromas of exotic fruits that carries onto the palate. A round offering of fruit, spice and honey combine well to create a long finish.

Rock Hill Farms Single Barrel 50%

Lots of oak and dry spices on the nose with a good balance of toffee, chocolate, vanilla and toffee on the palate. Incredibly long.

English Whisky Company Chapter 6 Un-peated – 46%

Sweet but soft on the nose with aromas of vanilla. Very sweet as it hits the palate with lots of malt and spice bursting well. Mellows as it nears the end with a slight dryness.

Singleton 12yr – 40%

Very rich fruit and nut aromas blend well when it hits the nose, with an initial sweetness onto the palate. Rather smooth afterwards however with a slight coffee flavour.

Dalwhinnie 15yr – 43%

Deep soft honey nose countered by a sharp citrus end on the nose. Quite sweet on the palate but does soften with vanilla.

Aberlour 16yr – 43%

Dry but rich on the nose with spice and raisins dominating. Quite sweet on the palate with a soft plum and long oak finish.

Aberlour a’Bunadh Batch 41 – 59%

Lots of spice and rich orange combine well on the nose and continue on to the palate with ginger and chocolate flavours coming through. A bitter oak and sherry end.

Scapa 16yr – 40%

On the nose there’s lots of sweet honey aromas which move onto the palate and combine with ginger to create a rich and long-lasting finish.

Berry’s XO Caribbean Rum – 46%

Banana, caramel and liquorice dominate the nose with a potent richness. Green fruits offer an intense sweetness on the palate but becomes rather dry at the end.

Compass Box Flaming Heart  – 48.9%

A bold nose of smoke and peat but mellows quickly. A good combination of citrus and vanilla on the palate with a dry spice and smoke ending.

Compass Box The Entertainer –

Light on the nose with peat aromas noticeable and a whisp of soft corn. Rather sharp on the palate however with a slight kick of spice with makes your mouth water every time.

Glenmorangie Original – 40%

Instant citrus on the nose but is soon followed by vanilla. Vanilla is also present on the palate before bursting with fruit near the end, noticeable orange.

Greenore 8yr – 40%

The nose enjoys delicate citrus notes with a slight mix of corn. As it hits the tongue, it gives a short, sharp hit but mellows quickly into a more distinctive citrus taste with a hint of barley coming through.

The Balvenie Caribbean Cask – 43%

Lots of vanilla notes on the nose, with rich toffee and fruit combining well on the palate. Hints of dried spice and tropical fruit help to round the long finish off.

W. L. Weller 12yr – 45%

Soft on the nose with hints of vanilla. A very soft, creamy flavour of wheat on the palate gives this a long, grainy finish that has hints of sweetness.

Arran 10yr – 46%

Instant vanilla to begin with, but tropical fruits follow. A spice start with citrus and oak counterbalancing nicely. Long and mellow ending.

Arran Gold Cream Liqueur – 17%

Soft toffee notes on the nose mix with a slight aroma of fruit. Lots of vanilla on the palate creates a sweet offering, with chocolate dominating near the end.

Glenfiddich Rich Oak – 40%

Soft fruit notes on the nose with slight oak whispers. Rather soft and short on the palate, but a fruity offering with rich vanilla thrown in.

Glenfiddich Age of Discovery 19yo Madeira Cask Finish – 40%

Deep orange notes on the nose with some hints of grape slowly released. Spice immediately hits the palate, but mellows to a smooth offering of caramel and ginger.

Glenfiddich 21yr – 40%

Strong and intense banana and toffee aroma with hints of leather and a rich sweet follow-through on the nose. Smooth with a slight smokiness and ginger and lime extracts on the palate with a long warm after-taste with subtle spice hints.

Glenfiddich 15yr Non-chill Filtered – 51%

Ripe, fresh fruit on the nose with an aroma of pepper at the end. Rather dry on the palate with spice, rich fruit flavours creating a long finish.

As you can see, a rather diverse collection was available, as well as varieties that are already gracing the site including Ardbeg, Connemara and anCnoc. With a total of four hours per session, there’s more than enough to keep you busy, and the guys and girls behind the brands are more than willing to tell you everything you need to know.

I know for a fact I’ll be attending next years festival as it’s the perfect chance to try some whiskies that you may never be able to afford in a bar or restaurant, plus a great opportunity to sample some you may never thought you would like.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.