Old Pulteney is a flagship of owner Inver House's single malt catalogue. In 2012 Jim Murray names the 21-year the, "World Whisky of the Year". A famed maritime brand with roots soaked in salt water, brine is dominant in the notes of this northerly house.
If a salty finish doesn't appeal then stear clear of Old Pulteney but, if you're willing to try, you may be surprised at how much you like it. Their youngest offering, a 12-year, is so pronounced that the name was changed to, "Maritime Malt", but the rarer 17 and 21-year bottles are also held in high esteem by malt afficionados.
Snappy and dry, ephemeral hints of green apple and light spice present an arresting bouqet from this 200 year old Whisky brand. Old Pulteney is a celebrated single malt well worth hunting down.
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Pulteneytown was once the herring fishing capital of Europe, with as many as 1,000 boats at harbor in its port. The sheer number of sailors in town contributed to the local govt. shutting off the taps for prohibition.
In its early years, many of the men working Old Pulteney's stills were also fishermen.
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The Old Pulteney Distillery was, until 2012, the northernmost Whisky producing facility on the Scottish mainland. Located in historic Caithness, a fishing port in Wick, Old Pulteney has a longstanding relationship with the sea.
Named after Sir William Putney, a Scottish advocate and politician, Old Pulteney was founded in 1826. In its early years Pulteneytown was largely inaccessible, except by boat. Barley arrived from the sea, and Whisky went out in the same fashion.
The site uses water from a stream flowing out of Loch Hempsprings, a few kilometers away. Old Pulteney was shuttered in 1930, when the local government decided to enforce prohibition, but re-opened in 1951 when the laws were repealed. And thank god, because this is some of the best stuff around.
Old Pulteney possesses but a single pair of distinctively shaped stills. Condensation takes place in a pair of stainless worm tubs. These days their malt arrives by land, but with warehouses so close to the sea, a certain maritime character lives on in their product.
Old Pulteney employs a combination of American Oak ex-Bourbon and Spanish Oak ex-Sherry casks to mature their make.
CountryUnited Kingdom, Scotland
OwnerInver House Distillers Ltd.
No. of stills1 wash, 1 spirit
AddressHuddart St, Wick, Highlands and Islands KW1 5BA, United Kingdom
A transcript for non-audio situations
Male 1: We all take a great pride and passion in what we're doing here. We always knew with the [inaudible 00:00:07] Whisky and for a connoisseur such as Jim Murray to agree with this, it's good news. Old Pulteney has a long heritage starting in 1826 here in Wick. Our Whisky-making process is handcrafted, using traditional methods, and the operators are all very passionate and care about their work. It's matured here on the site, it never leaves. What's so special is the product itself.
On the nose, you get lots of flavors coming through, fruity flavors. You get vanilla, butterscotch, toffee. But the tastings are special, but... To me, that just tastes like a Christmas cake. You get all the raisins, the spices coming through and it's got a lovely, long finish. The last couple of days here have just been crazy, the phones have been ringing non-stop, people wanting to buy a bottle, some even two. But it means so much to the guys that work in the distillery, they're finally being recognized for the great product they make, and also the people at work, they take a pride in Pulteney distillery as well, so it means something to them.
Male 2: Making Whisky, for me, is not about machines. It's a process, it's a science, but you distill Whisky with your heart. You don't distill it with a machine, you don't distillate with your head. You use your senses, your sight, sound, smell and it comes from feeling, and that's why I believe in making Whiskies. It's a passion, it's a lifestyle. It's not a job, it never has been a job. For me, doing this is a way of life.
Dave: Yeah, every time I come up here, it feels like... Well, there's a connection, you know, for me. So first time to Wick, loved the place. Just from my brief experience going down the water, getting those sort of smell, that can that kind of maritime, that kind of, you know, just the feeling of closeness to the land and the sea...yeah, that fantastic experience. It needs the human element and it needs feeling, and that's, you know, good Whisky. That's where it comes from.
Male 3: Old Pulteney, the Maritime Malt, distilled in Wick since 1826, the most northerly distillery on the Scottish mainland. A distinctly coastal flavor, dry and smooth with a hint of sea air. This multi-award-winning single malt is unashamedly excellent. Old Pulteney the Maritime Malt.
Male 4: Hey, the best Whisky to drink this year is also one of the hardest to find.
Female: Yeah, The Whisky Bible gave Pulteney...
Male 4: Yeah, have you ever had it?
Female: I've never had it, what about you?
Male 4: I've never had it.
Female: No, okay. Well, the Scotch from northern Scotland scored a 97.5 out of 100.
Male 4: Yup, that's pretty good.
Female: The 21 year old single malt... Author of the Whisky Bible says it was tough work. He had to sit home for four straight months taste-testing the Whisky.
Nick: Single Scotch malt, single Scotch!
Female: Put it down, Nick, put it down.
Nick: Well, the best of the best when it comes to Whisky doesn't come from the South, it's from Scotland. The single malt knocked out 1200 rivals to triumph as the World Whisky of the Year. ...distillery there totaled 97.50 out of 100 points, tying the highest score ever given.
Mr. President: Old Pulteney, 21 years old.
Male 5: It's good.
Mr. President: Some think it's the best in the world.
Male 5: I grew up in Detroit, Mr. President. I don't know anything about Scotch. Wines I've learned, but you are the expert on all things, Mr President.