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Old Pulteney 12 Year Old

Spirit of Toronto 2018 - Review #1

5 980

@NozinanReview by @Nozinan

11th May 2018


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

A few days ago I was at Spirit of Toronto, and at the event I attended 2 masterclasses. At the Wiser's masterclass I was able to take enough notes for a review on one expression, and thanks to @paddockjudge I have a small sample to compare to last year's release (which I will do soon, hopefully). I was also able to come away with a half ounce of the 35 YO which will eventually makes its way into a review.

In the Highland masterclass, having lost interest in what was very much more of a marketing talk than in Livermore's, I sniffed ahead to the 12 year Old Pulteney and was dismayed. It really attracted my interest and I focused sufficiently on it to prepare a short review. Here goes:


How many of you make your own gefilte fish for Passover? If you do then you will know the distinct smell of home-ground whitefish, pike and carp in an exact 6:5:1 ratio (6 pounds in total minus bones), mixed with 2 medium onions, eggs and matzoh meal. Yes. At first I thought it was cabbage. But then I realized it was the raw fish mix, made that little bit more pungent by the onion.

The gefilte fish mix nose did dissipate afte about 30 minutes (depends on how long it was poured before we were seated... not long), then there was some pleasant fruit, with apple and baking spices and honey. I think @paddockjudge mentioned pears but he might have said peaches. The gefilte fish never really went away completely


A bit thin (it is, after all, bottled at a whopping 40%), sweet, less complex than the nose. I think I got some banana..


All my notes say is "astringent".

Was this an interesting whisky? Yes

Do I like Gefilte fish? Yes

Do I like the smell of either raw or cooking gefilte fish? NO!

I would not buy this whisky. If offered I would probably pass, unless it was paired with.... gefilte fish.

Related Old Pulteney reviews


Robert99 commented

@Nozinan Every time I hear gefilte fish, I am thinking of Chris Rock in Rush Hour 2 (or 3). Today, you are almost as funny as Chris Rock. laughing

4 years ago 0

Victor commented

I've known 2 bottles of Old Pulteney 12 which were quite different from one another. Yours sounds like a third sort of experience. I, and everybody else who ever had any, loved the first bottle I had. The second bottle seemed a little off, a bit cluttered with some not so mellow notes added to the usual good malt and salt ones. The first bottle of OP12 I had I could not discern any peat, nor any wine. The second bottle, my sister's, seems to show a little of both, but is not nearly as well-integrated. The second bottle made me sad, because I wanted to be confidant of being able to buy more of the first bottle's taste. On the other side of the ledger my sister's bottle of Old Pulteney Navigator started out not so harmonious, but has just gotten more and more delicious with air time.

The OP12 we get here in the US (mid-Atlantic region) is all 43% ABV.

4 years ago 2Who liked this?

paddockjudge commented

@Nozinan, it was peaches, Early Redhaven peaches, not yet completey ripened....The 25 YO Old Pulteney was nice, slightly heavy on the oak - just the way I like it.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

Hewie commented

@Nozinan I didn't realise anyone actually ate carp! Do you buy it or catch it yourself? Well it's certainly something different to find in a whisky. I've read many who regard OP 12 quite highly but it's one I've not yet been convinced to buy. Now I feel even less inclined.

4 years ago 0

RianC commented

An enjoyable review @Nozinan! I quite like a drop of Pulteney and it's usually discounted in the UK supermarkets.

First bottle I had had a crack in the cork and it smelled very funky when first opened. Not sure I've ever smelled your gefilte fish but off fish mixed with an old style Gents public latrine would have been apt. In fairness it subsided with some air time (and a new cork) and became quite enjoyable.

My Mum really likes Pulteney as well so I often get to try bottles at hers. None have been that off putting to start but some have been better than others. I had a bottle last year that I would have marked at 89, maybe 90. Tried alongside Springbank 10 it still held its own which surprised me.

I guess all that is a long winded way of saying they seem to have issues with batch variation! Hope you get a better one next time relaxed

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

RianC commented

@Hewie - Ate a lot of deep fried carp in SE Asia - yummers!

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

Hewie commented

@RianC I guess anything dressed up in a nice dish can taste OK laughing I've just heard of it compared to cotton wool with lots of bones. Anyway, nice to hear your thoughts on the OP 12 too.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

RianC commented

@Hewie - Aye pretty much anything deep fried tasted gooood! laughing

4 years ago 0

Nozinan commented


Lots of people eat carp. Personally, on its own, I try not to.

I only use a little, so even if I was able to catch fish I would still buy it.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

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