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Old Pulteney 12 Year Old

Sunken Treasure

0 683

@vanPeltReview by @vanPelt

7th Mar 2014


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Fresh bottle: An "old sneakers" smell, like I've found in the HP 12 and Juras.

Nose1: Strange but not unpleasant. Creme fraiche (or sour cream) from a fresh pour. Then the sneakers aroma shows other elusive elements: imagine smoked cheese and cactus. After breathing, some saltiness evokes murky seawater, but more subdued: think cardboard and salted macadamia nuts.

Nose2: If you're patient... the nose improves substantially. Fruits matching the color of the whisky emerge from the "fog": golden raisin, mushy yellow apple, some honey lurking beneath, and subtle pineapple.

Palate (fresh bottle): The flavors also seem fogged, by marshmallow/butter that suppresses the sourish golden raisins and apple. (Grass and pineapple join, after just a day of opening.) It dilutes into smoother banana cream into the finish. Although muted on the tongue, the fruits emerge at the back of the mouth, seeming tart and even a little bitter like almond slivers.

Palate (1 month): Somehow sea salt seems more obvious with age. The malt has now opened up-- packed with the flavors of the yellow fruits, hay, vanilla, and almond. The aging has earned this an extra point.

Finish: Toasty marshmallow in the throat; those tart fruits tickle the tongue. Drier grassiness creeps in, revealing the youth and preventing a higher score.

The overall experience is a mixture of positive and confusing sensations, but overall I think this is a (very) good purchase. The interesting nose does not beckon, but the palate shines: that interplay of vanilla, yellow fruit, and almond provide balance a high quality experience. I will put this away and look forward to enjoying it in the summer.

The first similar malts I think of are the (mentioned) young Juras and the HP12. They share the strange initial aroma and other aspects of character. I prefer the Pulteney to these, because of palate balance and complexity. Look to the Arran 10 (another excellent value) if you want similar but more overt flavors and an improved nose. If you seek intrigue, I could also point to the Glenfarclas 10. The 10yo Glenfarclas and Glenmorangie may be my top young malts, but this Pulteney doesn't fall too far behind; I think it is a saltier and livelier counterpart that provides good value.

Related Old Pulteney reviews


Victor commented

@vanPelt, you and almost everyone else under the sun find Old Pulteney 12 a lot more complex than I do. To me it is very simple, but I've loved every sip I've had of it. Thanks for your review.

7 years ago 0

MCM commented

Very nice review. I know they're probably different animals, but I've been trying to decide between the Pulteney 12 and 17. You mention young malts; I'm currently loving a bottle of Balvenie 12 year single barrel.

7 years ago 0

TpR commented

@vanPelt, I enjoyed the review! I've had some bottles of OP12 that are VERY sweaty/cheesy. The latest bottlings i've had have been much less so. I find Balblair 02 to have a really nice lactic quality also, albeit being a completely different animal. I wish there were more lactic whiskies as I really enjoy them.

@MCM I would try the 12 year old first, as it is quite a steal. The 17 is incredible, but I am glad I worked my way up to it for the experience.

7 years ago 0

vanPelt commented

Thanks for the feedback, guys. @Victor , In a way you're right, maybe I should try to as concise as my earliest reviews. How about: Nose=smoked cheese + golden fruits + murkiness. Palate= tart golden fruits + marshmallow + drop of ocean. (But still, I think at least the fresh bottle has "layers", and the sensations don't just come all at once and in the same place.)

@MCM I'm picking up on more indications that the Balvenie is worth trying, thanks for the tip. About the 12 vs 17, I think it depends on your habits (1 dram/week?) and of course experience as TpR says. For me, I would get the 17 next time as I think it actually is similar but all around better.

@TpR Great input to hear about the variations. I haven't got around to Balblair yet, but definitely will.

7 years ago 0

Victor commented

@vanPelt, I like your style of description fine. Please keep the prose style rather than using a mathematical style of description. The Old Pulteney 12 I have had I would, and probably have, described, as "lots of malt, very noticeable brine, with just the very slightest hints of peat and wine." I would point out that I have NOT drunk the 40% Old Pulteney 12 which you have reviewed here. We only have the 43% version locally.

7 years ago 0

hunggar commented

It's a characterful dram and I think it's fantastic. While I may find a bit come complexity here than @Victor, I would agree that the malt and brine really shine with this one (as they do with pretty much any Pulteney). As far as I'm concerned, their house style is always something to behold, and I've always got a special corner of my cabinet carved out for a Pulteney. Thanks for the review!

7 years ago 0

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