Old Pulteney

On a windswept and nondescript street in the tiny Highland coastal town of Wick is the Old Pulteney distillery. As wild and salty a whisky as the place it comes from

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Type: Highland

Known for: being as far north as its possible to go on the Scottish mainland without getting wet

And: winning the award for world’s best whisky 2012 with their 21 year old

Contact: www.oldpulteney.com


Wick is a small town, and the Pulteney distillery is quietly tucked away on a nondescript backstreet, so desolate and grey it’s like being back in the bad end of the 70s. You half expect The Sweeney to come tearing around the corner mid car chase any minute.

Desolation however is soon cast aside as soon as you enter the distillery’s charming confines. It’s shabby in places, but in a good way, more lived in than worn out, and feels more traditional and homely than many distilleries, especially some of the Speyside giants.

As for the whisky, it’s a gem, well known for its salty tang and depth of smooth, rich flavour. Even the new make spirit fresh from the still has an incredibly smooth nose despite being almost 70%, and that follows on into the finished product.

Old Pulteney’s 21 year old is the one grabbing all the headlines now since being voted whisky of the year by Jim Murray, but the 12 is a cracker too while the rest of the range leaves plenty of room for exploration.

This was brought home in the bar of the nearby Mackay’s hotel where we stayed and spent a fine evening with manager Murray Lamont. A bon viveur of the highest order and a major whisky lover, Lamont keeps the Mackay’s cellars very well stocked and even has his own cask of Old Pulteney. A 37 year old, bottled at 55% and running to £100 a shot, this is a rare treat indeed. Deep, dark, and both dangerously and endlessly seductive, it just reinforced the depth of Pulteney’s reserves.

Buy Old Pulteney Scotch whisky from:

Master of Malt

The Whisky Exchange

The Drink Shop

Tasting notes:

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