The Whisky of the Week is Old Pulteney 18 Year Old. What a treat you have in store for Adam!

Whisky of the Week is a simple series. We ask you to vote for the whisky you would like to see us taste. You get three options, posted on our Instagram stories. Then Jess or I will grab a bottle and phone, point the latter in the direction of the former, and do some waffle about what you should expect from the whisky. This week I’m wearing a Star Wars jumper while doing it. Neat.

But what’s really cool about Whisky of the Week is that you guys always make sure we have something very tasty in our glass. It’s a kindness Jess and I appreciate. Especially when it means we get to taste something like Old Pulteney 18 Year Old. 

Old Pulteney 18 Year Old

In our tasting glasses today is the lovely Old Pulteney 18 Year Old

Putting Pulteney in our glasses

The Old Pulteney whisky distillery was founded in 1826 by James Henderson and gets its name from the Pulteneytown area of Wick. It’s one of Scotland’s most northerly mainland whisky producers and for a long time was only accessible by sea. Barley would be brought in by boat by herring fishermen. A simpler time.

Present owner Inver House Distillers (which also counts Speyburn, Knockdhu, and more in its portfolio) is keen to ensure you know the brand is still tied to the sea, calling it The Maritime Malt in much of its press. This is due to the fact the whiskies age next to the sea, which when combined with low temperature and high humidity, is said to massively influence Old Pulteney’s character towards the coastal. How much effect sea air has on maturation is debated, but the whisky definitely has a distinctive salinity to it, so there’s something going on here. 

Some 900,000 litres of single malt Scotch whisky is made at Old Pulteney per year, using soft, pure water from Loch Hempriggs and a 100-year-old Porteus mill which processes five tonnes of local un-peated malt barley into grist every two and a half hours. Long sixty-hour fermentations occur in six stainless steel washbacks before distillation takes place in a wash and spirit still. The former is a boiling ball shape that inspires the bottle design of our Whisky of the Week, and traditional worm tub condensers ensure the whisky has weight and texture.

Maturation isn’t all about location, of course, but cask type and Old Pulteney uses both American oak and Spanish oak casks, which you can see in the 18-year-old expression. Released back in August 2018, it was aged in second-fill bourbon casks then finished in first-fill Spanish oak oloroso sherry casks. It’s bottled at 46% ABV and has all that Pultney coasted charm, but there’s more to it, with a rich, cakey density and delicate honeyed sweetness. Lovely stuff.

Adam tastes Old Pulteney 18 Year Old

Nose: Malty and rich with raisins, sweet tobacco, and honey, as well as hints of chocolate cookies and marzipan. Throughout there’s plenty of the expected seaside salinity. 

Palate: Gingercake and nutmeg bring more aromatic spice which is pleasantly complemented by sweet sultanas, tinned peaches, and marmalade, as well as touches of salted peanut butter.

Finish: Oaky char and spice linger with a hint of lime peel.

Old Pulteney 18 Year Old is available from Master of Malt.⁠