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These notes were adapted from a mini-review I posted in the “Old Pulteney 12 Nose Question” thread, in which Connosr member @TpR asked if anyone else got strong notes of cheese throughout the nosing and tasting experience. Pardon me for employing a bit of self-plagiarizing here, but it was hard to resist chalking up another review with copy-and-paste ease.
My bottle of OP 12 is the 375ml size, purchased in a twin pack with a 375ml OP 17, and this will be my fourth dram. I'd supply the batch number, but it's printed on the bottle, rather than the label, and four of the numbers have rubbed off.
Nose: It's different, that's for sure. Not sure if I could identify this as Scotch if I were tasting it blind. No malt, vanilla, caramel, smoke...no familiar Scotch-y aromas (and no cheese). More like cooking oil, a little wood, and, of all things, watermelon. Very, very light. But I like it.
Palate is bitter honey, pleasantly so. Doesn't seem to evolve much as it sits. No cheese yet.
As for the finish...I don't know if this is the power of suggestion, but -- dang, there's the cheese. A couple of months ago, I might have described this as "creamy and earthy," but now that I'm thinking cheese, that's what I'm getting. To be specific, I get a good cheese and broccoli soup. The kind you get at the sandwich shops, not the canned kind.
This is a whisky whose unique flavors are balanced by their tameness. It's an entry-level malt only in that it's mild and nonthreatening. On one hand, I like these flavors very much, but don't care for the softness of the whisky. On the other hand, I don't know if I'd like these flavors at cask strength.
I prefer Old Pulteney 17 yo, in that the extra five years results in a bolder and more articulate whisky, and one for which the oddball flavors now compliment a dominant and traditional malt-and-spice profile. That said, I’ll give OP 12 a respectable score, based on its uniqueness and drinkability.