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Old Pulteney 12 Year Old

Dependable Pulteney

5 689

@talexanderReview by @talexander

26th Feb 2020


Old Pulteney 12 Year Old
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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This is an now-almost-empty bottle that I acquired at auction last year - not the new updated packaging - and unfortunately the cork disintegrated. I've had this a few times at bars but never had a bottle at home that I've reviewed before.

The colour is a light caramel. Nice and briny on the nose, with lots of toffee, some vanilla, hazelnut and deep oak (oakier than most 12yo malts, methinks). Hickory. Dark honey. Curiously, I get canned pineapple. Most predominantly though is the briny sea salt - and then you add water and it becomes musty, almost smoky. It's a great nose as always.

On the palate we have a bit more spice (some pepper, some chilli and still primarily brine) with that caramel and vanilla from the bourbon cask. Not quite as oaky as on the nose. Silky, creamy mouthfeel. With time it gets quite salty, almost peaty - but it's very nicely balanced due to a firm maltiness in the background. A few drops of water gives you more brine and spice - exciting!

The medium length finish has late-arriving spice, with gentle hints of oak and coffee grounds, but disappears far too quickly with none of the robustness of the nose and palate (though with water the spice hangs around a bit longer). Not up to the level of the now-defunct 21yo but an absolutely solid malt.

Related Old Pulteney reviews


Nozinan commented

Nice review. I still can’t get over the raw gefilte fish mix I got on the nose when I tried this (a more recent bottling) at Spirit of Toronto 2 years ago. It eventually evolved into something nicer but that put me off.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

talexander commented

@Nozinan Interesting - I have no idea what raw (or not raw) gefilte fish smells like so I cannot comment. Next time you have it, invite me and I'll pick up some Old Pulteney and bring it over!

4 years ago 4Who liked this?

RianC commented

@talexander - Nice review of one of my staples. Only wish we could get it at 43% but even at 40% it holds up well, probably due to that intrinsic maltiness you highlight. Well-priced too!

4 years ago 0

MadSingleMalt commented

I just noticed that the new packaging here in the States also features the sad new ABV of 40% instead of 43%. Stock-up time, perhaps.

4 years ago 0

BlueNote commented

I usually pick one up in Oregon when we visit the in-laws. 43% and cheap like borscht. My wife loves it.

4 years ago 0

cheeserandyburg commented

Sounds delicious. Have a bottle sitting in the cabinet for over a year or so now will be opening this tasty bottle this fall! Can't wait!

4 years ago 0