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Old Pulteney 17 Year Old

Average score from 18 reviews and 46 ratings 89

Old Pulteney 17 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Old Pulteney
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 46.0%
  • Age: 17 year old

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Old Pulteney 17 Year Old

On August 15, 2020, a small group of us had a Zoom Tasting of 4 mystery samples. We had received them from @Fiddich1980 and tried them earlier, and then we went through them together. 2 of the 4 samples were whiskies and this is the first of two reviews from that set.

This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.

First tasting Aug. 13 2020

Sweet, Floral nose Syrup, ?rosemary? ?sage? Grapes? Taste sweet, spirity, effervescent. Bitter on the finish, short. Guess about 43% - could be a brandy.

Formal Tasting October 12, 2020

Nose: 22/25

Sweet fruit, cinnamon and sweet apple are the primary notes. Fruit syrup. I don’t get the savoury notes from my original pour of this sample. Very pleasant, not overly complex, but clean and fresh. Slightly richer, more syrupy nose with a few drops of water. (22.5/25)

Taste: 22/25

Fruity, slightly effervescent on arrival. A little sour in a pleasant way. crisp green apples, white table grapes. Some oak in the development, kind of like an oaked white wine. Water adds some pepper to the palate. Makes it a bit more substantial. (22.5/25)

Finish: 22/25

Medium length. Oaky tannins. A little pepper, slightly astringent.

Balance: 22/25

The nose and palate compliment each other. Not too sweet, not too sour. Not overly complex but light and refreshing.

Score: Neat - 88/100 With Water: 89/100

This would make a great alternative to a chilled white wine in the backyard on a summer evening, if I drank white wine.

I wonder if air in the sample bottle had some effect on the differences between the August tasting and today’s, and for the better.

Thanks again, @fiddich1980, for providing the sample!

@Nozinan OP17 is a single malt which really demands that one's palate and sense of smell, be on point. I struggled with the bottle over the past year and a half. For myself, at times, it represented single malt perfection, aromatic, complex flavours, spot on balance, and nice length of finish = enjoyment. Then at other times, muted, insipid, and pedestrian = no joy. My fear was that "It was so good as to be boring". I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the bottom half of the sample. I can relate with your comparison to white wine maybe a, dry Gewurztraminer.

@Nozinan I think you are right in line with the consensus on this one. Credible reviewers consistently score it in the high 80s/low 90s.

@fiddich1980 Your impressions suggest that it depends on what your taste buds want on any given day. I know that feeling and have to refrain from judging a whisky on a day when the buds want something else. I would recommend that you avoid the insipid 18 year old that replaced it, but if you can get hold of a sample, by all means form your own impressions, they may be totally different from mine.



As I'm sure anyone reading this will know this was discontinued last year and I gambled, due to its reputation and my experiences with the 12, and snagged a couple of bottles. I'm always cautious when reviewing a popular malt as it's easy to get swept up in the hype and lose some of our objectivity. Mind you, all reviews are rather subjective so I'll shut up and get on with it.

Bottle has been open almost two months with about a third gone. Review is with a few drops of water. It's fine neat but I think water brings out more complexity and floral notes on the nose and palette.

Nose - Fresh and clean with a quite noticeable bourbon influence - rose water, vanilla, some soft oak and a touch of honey. There's a little light salty toffee note too with lots of fresh fruit - apples, lemon - and a little dried fruit as well. Some baking spices, cardamom and clove, round things off nicely adding some dryness.

Taste - Sweet arrival, lemons and apple again, then the salt and spice start to take a real hold and unravel into the finish. That rose water note really comes out as well along with some creamy malt. Very nice and well-balanced and a delightfully silky and rich mouthfeel.

Finish - Longish with a good balance again of the spice and more astringent (but not bitter) oak notes. Some salty toffee is lurking about as well.

I think I actually find the development and mouthfeel is better neat as it unwinds on the tongue beautifully. Water makes the experience much more, hmm, fluid, perhaps? If that makes any sense? But still very enjoyable. A good malt to play with as I've found it can take a lot, if one is so inclined.

Well, I'm glad I bought this that's for sure and truth be told I have to hide this bottle away as once I've had a pour it becomes extremely moreish. In that sense it reminds me of Arran 14. This is an excellent whisky worthy of its reputation and further warms me to Pulteney's charms. That said, as for buying two . . . well, I won't complain having to drink another but, hand on heart, I wish I'd bought another Talisker 18 instead.


Old Pulteney distillery is located in Wick, a fishing village in the far north-east of Scotland, and was founded in 1826 by James Henderson. The part of town where the distillery is located is called Pulteneytown, named after Sir William Pulteney, a former governor of the British Fisheries Society. The Henderson family remained in control of the distillery until 1920 when it was sold to James Watson & Co. Ltd. from Dundee. Ownership then changed quickly again, first in 1923 when Old Pulteney was sold to John Dewar & Sons Ltd and one more time in 1925 when it was acquired by the Distillers Company Ltd. (DCL). In 1930 the DCL decided to close the distillery, which it remained until 1951 when it was resurrected by Robert Cumming, a lawyer from Banff in Speyside. Cumming sold the distillery to Hiram Walker in 1955 who decided to renovate the distillery in 1958. The ubiquitous changes in ownership continued in 1961 when Old Pulteney was sold once more, this time to Allied Breweries (who changed their name to Allied Lyons in 1981 and to Allied Domecq plc in 1994). In 1995 the distillery was acquired by Inver House Distillers, only for ownership to change again when in 2001 Inver House were acquired by Pacific Spirits, a subsidiary of Thailand-based Great Oriole Group – who in 2006 sold Pacific Spirits including Old Pulteney distillery to International Beverage Holdings, the international arm of ThaiBev, Thailand's largest beverage company (they are the current owners). The 17-year old version was first introduced in 2004 and for the most part is matured in ex-bourbon casks, with the remainder being matured in ex-Oloroso sherry casks.

The nose is soft and sweet with vanilla and honey flavours coming first, followed by a whiff of smoke. Then there are oranges and some apricots. Towards the end this gets quite grassy and herbal.

The palate is medium-bodied and spicy. Vanilla and honey flavours are back, now together with some nice apple notes and a hint of lemon. There is a good dose of wood spice, making this a rather prickly palate.

The finish is of medium length and pleasantly warming. Orange peel and cinnamon are now prominent, this time followed by a hint of chocolate.

This is a solid single malt that has more complexity and richness than the 12-year old version. While I was impressed by its overall balance, the palate was a tad too spicy for me. Again, and as was the case with the 12-year old, I did not detect any of the ‘maritime’ flavours that Old Pulteney is known for. Still, and in other words, this is good stuff from Wick!

Well the reverse could also be said - I think most reviewers here tend to score their drams slightly too high. Perhaps the novelty effect...

I think Pierre is spot on with this one: 85 points - good quality standard bottling, but not enough wow factor to get it in the high-80's

You tend to rate whiskies lower than most people do.


I sampled the 21 year old OB and an independent 12 year old bottling last year, both of which I liked very much in their own way, so decided to fork out for this OP17 that I found recently for a good deal. Bottle has been open for a week now, and have had three drams since.

Nose: all the briny, waxy loveliness generally associated with those Northern Highlanders (Clynelish, Brora…) undercut by some fruitiness, with pear & ginger. Further sniffing reveals some earthy, grassy notes. This is a quite wonderful nose!

Motuhfeel: Medium-to full bodied, a little creamy Palate:. Zesty and a little sweet. Walnuts & vanilla sit on a bed of barley, becomes verry grassy and even a bit harsh after a few swirls around the tongue. Bit of a letdown after that great nose.

Finish: Quite long, but not what I expected. The nice palate doesn’t follow on to the finish… brine and salt are in the background, and quite hard to pick up. It’s more lemon and herbs. Hmm…

The whole experience has left me feeling rather pertubed. It’s a subtle shape shifter, never really giving you what you expect (which can be a good thing). Great nose, nice enough palate, but then let down by the finish. I’ll revisit it again in a fortnight to see if things improve.


After running out on Highland Park 18 and the increase of the price for HP18 from € 60,- up to € 80,-. I starting to look for a alternative whisky. My interest went out to Old Pulteney 17. I've enjoyed the Old Pulteney 12, so why not give the 17 a go for € 60,- a bottle. Here we go!

Nose: vanilla, slightly salty, citrus, red fruit, malt. Taste: butterscotch, barley, salty, malt, spicy, red fruit, flowers. Delivery: barley, warm, dry, wine, long lingering taste, it keeps going and going and going.

A wonderful dram, worth every penny. It's not as good as Highland Park 18, but it's right up there on it's heals. This is definitely not my last bottle of Old Pulteney 17.

@vrudy6 I poured myself another dram, just te be sure ;) It's more complex, a small word but a big difference. For example, the sharpness of the younger OP12 is completely mellowed out, that's a big big plus. The OP17 has the same signature as the OP12, so you could say, more of the same? That said, I wouldn't buy the OP12 again, just because I have other 12 year old single malts I like better in that price-range. The OP17 is a totally different story, this bottle will be the first of many to follow.

I've had the Old Pulteney several times and I enjoy it very much, but never had the 17. How do you compare the 17 to the 12? It sounds like is much of the same, except that the 17's flavors are deeper and more pronounced. Is that true?


First vapor: Fruit sherbets (pina-colada or maraschino-cherry) and sophisticating lemon & almond bitters.

Nose: Soft lemon cream, with sea-salted Brazil nuts and banana. This is supported by malty cereal and perhaps black pepper.
The nose is quite muted at first, but a little time empowers the banana/cereal. (The banana hints at vanilla and honey, but these are even lighter than the rest of the nose.)

Palate: (Salted-) Butter arrival, quickly seen to contain black pepper and cashews. This transitions to banana and then closer to pina-colada-- a bit gingery and with good vanilla. Honey dries to nutmeg towards the finish.
Though less dominant, there is a complex flower-spice like cardamom, throughout. (A tarter drop of lemon juice may also appear-- especially when warmer or oxidized.)

Finish: A back-and-forth of honey flavor and oaky dryness. Malty vanilla in the throat.

A deliciously balanced expression with a nuanced evolution. Compared to the 12yo, the 17's flavors are bolder (mostly due to the ABV), and they are less tart & grassy. So while the 12 is very good and remains an excellent value, I certainly consider the 17 superior. Compared to the 21, I find the 17 both more balanced and subtle. In other words, taken side-by-side, the 21 seems more powerful, if less refined. The 17 also carries that cardamom pod flower/spice tone which is not present in the 21.

If you want to explore similar non-OP malts, I am somehow reminded of a few 18-year-olds: mostly Bunnahabhain's (which is bread-ier), somewhat Highland Park's (peach-ier), and less so Auchentoshan's (lighter and oakier). These all share a relative lightness and contain flavors of cereal, nuts, and light fruits. The appeal of the OP lies in its complexity and its salt-boldened flavor intensity.
I also think the Bowmore 17 could also share a similar fan-base, since it also is a delicate but complex expression. The Bowmore replaces the OP17's nuttiness with subtle smoke, and both are of the same high quality.

Sounds complex, gotta try Old Pulteney


I have been a fan of Old Pulteney products since my very first sip of Old Pulteney 12 YO a few years ago. The reviewed bottle has been open for 9 months, is 70% full, and has been preserved with inert gas for 6 months of that time

Nose: fragrant bouquet of wine, salt, malt, and flowers, with the wine and the malt being prominent and in near-equal influence. The floral influence is of roses and carnations. The whisky is sweet, but not too much, and with a good dry-astringent balance. Lovely

Taste: the flavours from the nose translate beautifully to the palate, with the salt/brine influence being slightly stronger on the palate than it is in the nose. The barley is always prominent in the Old Pulteney products, and theirs is a very crisp and enjoyable barley. Beautiful malt whisky

Finish: very clean medium-long finish, with sweet mellow rosy malt continuing to keep company with a noticeable touch of salt and grape-wine

Balance: this is an exceptionally well-balanced malt whisky. Everything in this bottle is in perfect proportion, with each element being delicious in its own right. There is an elegance in Old Pulteney 17 YO which elevates the spirit and gives me a feeling of joyous and light good times

The reviewed bottle was a 60th birthday present from a friend I've known for over 30 years. He did well in choosing it, and knew what I'd like. He scored big points with me by giving me this bottle. Old Pulteney is one of my favourite distilleries. Old Pulteney 17 is not an inexpensive whisky, but it is of very high quality. I highly recommend Old Pulteney 17 YO, and the Old Pulteney 12 YO and 21 YO as well

I have to agree with Victor on the 17 year old. It is just a fine well balanced single malt and for the price it is one of the better ones on the market. It is far better than many higher priced malts. I liked the sweetness and the body of it. Bottling it at 46% alcohol is a definite plus. Other Highlanders such as Dalmore bottle many of theirs at 40% and wish they would up theirs a wee bit. It is certainly one of the top Highlanders in my opinion. Great Malt!

I made the mistake of trying the 17yo first and the 12yo afterwards, the 17yo is so much more complex and refined. Great dram indeed


Wrote a review of Old Pulteney 12 yo about eight months ago and tonight realized I’d never done a formal review of OP 17. (Formal? I write most reviews late at night while in my robe and slippers, with my dog snoozing by my chair. That’s as formal as it gets around here.)

This bottle was half of a two-pack of OP 12 and 17, each of the 375ml size. Always wished more distilleries would offer packages like this. The bottle’s been opened for quite a while—at least ten months, I’d say. It doesn’t seem to have changed much since the last time I had it (I can’t recall exactly when, but I do remember snow on the ground), so maybe the smaller bottle size helps stave off the oxidation. The bottle code, for those who keep track of such things, is L12-116-IB-12/5059-14:15. Not sure how to decipher most of that, except that it’s a 2012 (June 11??) bottling.

Nose: Fruits (mostly citrus and bananas), nuts, and honey, mainly. Traces of oak and vanilla. There’s also something here that I don’t quite know how to describe, like a head of lettuce rinsed in cold water. There’s no discernible odor to it, but it screams “Fresh!” A nice touch of something ethereal and abstract, if you will.

Palate: The arrival is stinging, peppery, and full of fruits (tart apples, pears, and melons). I don’t know if it’s this particular batch, but I don’t get the richness in the development that others rave about. Seems to turn bland and watery as it sits on the tongue, in fact (and I’m drinking it neat). Three well-spaced sips, and the same results each time.

It comes alive in the long finish, however, as I get a nice balance of sweetness and spice. Some apples and pears as it goes down, followed by salt and hot pepper once it’s passed the gullet. A little dry chalkiness at the very end, which is a nice slam-the-door sort of goodbye.

I don’t find OP 17 as complex as others might, but I don’t mind fewer aromas and flavors if they’re pleasant and balanced. Not spectacular, but a solid, B+ whisky. I might even consider investing in a 750ml bottle once I’ve polished off the last couple of drams in this li’l thing.

@WhiskyBee, yes, batches can really vary a lot. I have to say that the first taste of Old Pulteney 17 I had a couple of years ago was so salty that I found it difficult to enjoy. My current bottle tastes nothing at all like that sample did. When my friend gave me my current bottle I really did not know what to expect. I would describe my current bottle of Old Pulteney 17 as lush and sweet,and in a very good balance, whereas that earlier sample was rather astringent and austere. So, really, I need to sample from your bottle to see what it is that YOU are drinking.

Last time I drank this one, I got a hint of gauze bandages on the nose. It was quite strange but the rest of the nose/palate/finish was quite nice. Still, not quite as complex as I had expected from previous experience with this whisky. It seems to be growing less complex with later batches. Not sure if that's just my imagination or not. Perhaps there aren't different batches. I'm really not sure if there are. Or perhaps my taste is growing more complex as my experience tasting and rating scotches matures.


This is one of those drams I’ve been itching to try for a while now. It’s roughly $55 Canadian at my local whisky store here in Taipei. I’ve heard good things about it from both friends and online reviews. I was having a tough time choosing between this and the Amrut Single Malt Cask Strength. Obviously, I opted for the OP17. Amrut will have to wait.

Nose: Largely a bourbon nose with lovely vanilla, cereal, and honey notes. Next up we get a peppery burn, followed some nice butter and floral notes. Heaps of fruit, with apples, pears, melons, and oranges. There’s a definite ‘cola’ quality here as well. Quite nice.

Palate: Butter on arrival. Saltier and spicier than expected. Much more of a kick than the nose would suggest. Quite a lovely balance of white pepper here. Not too much, not too little. Also, a fair amount of ginger. Lots of tangy citrusy notes, and a faint floral note that’s reminiscent of lilac.

Finish: Some oak comes through here. Something that kind of reminds me of ‘Old Spice,’ the cologne your dad used to wear (depending on your age, I guess). More ginger and pepper. Salty again, with some mild perfume/floral notes and heaps of butter. Medium-long finish.

I’m reminded somewhat of traditional Scottish cuisine. More specifically, the crust on a Scottish meat pie. My mother immigrated to Canada from Scotland with her parents, and my grandmother used to prepare either fish ‘n chips or meat pies for us every time we’d visit her. The meat pies would have a buttery pastry crust with a healthy dose of both salt and pepper. I’m a big fan of how the smooth buttery notes work with the salt and pepper here. I don’t know how to work the lilac, ginger or zesty orange notes into this picture, but they’re there too, and they work well. So… yeah, it’s as if someone took the meat out of a Scottish meat pie, squeezed an orange over it, and sat some ginger and a lilac flower on top of it. Damn, that’s the most forced analogy I’ve ever made. Common hunggar, you’re better than this…

ANYWAY, this is a good whisky. But I have to admit my expectations may have been a bit high. Online reviews tend to favour this dram, but more importantly, a friend told me this was his personal favorite. Well, it certainly is worth the affordable price tag here in Taiwan. Not a favorite, but it’s certainly not something I regret buying. The palate doesn’t deliver as much fruit as the nose promised, which was somewhat disappointing. But, the notes that do shine through offer a rich and balanced whisky that is thoroughly enjoyable.

I agree with your assessment; this dram is more savory that sweet. It will improve with time. My advice is to leave it along for another week or so and then go back to it. You've drunk a few drams from it, so the air in the bottle will work on the rest. If your bottle is anything like mine, the bourbony nose will dissipate in a while. The 17 is not very similar to the 21.

If you can obtain the 21, do it. You won't be disappointed. It's more sweet than savory.

Still, I find the 17 has its own set of charms, even though it is a little on the strange said in a good way. Another strange bottle: Mortlach 15 from Gordon and Macphail (sp?) importers. I started out disliking it, and have come round full circle. It's a very strange dram. Another one: Longrow CV. It tastes a little like a good anejo tequila. It also had flavors on the savory side that reminded me of pan friend rattlesnake.

I put the Old P. 17 in the same category as the others, but it is certainly more "normal" than they are. My bounds of acceptance are pushed to the limits with the Ledaig 10 YO non chill filtered. It's not my cup of tea.

As much as some of tasting notes may have had a negative connotation, I actually thoroughly enjoy it. My reaction was more in response to my friend who oversold it to me. Really, it's my own fault for expecting magic in a bottle. It's great stuff. "It has its charms" is the perfect choice of words. I love the gentle spices and the rich, buttery notes. It's rich and smooth with a great salt and pepper compliment. I'd love to give OP21 a go. I appreciate any good whisky with a distinctive character that sets it apart from the crowd. In fact, I'm kind of considering trying out the Mortlach 15 now as well. Variety, spice of life, etc.


The Old Pulteney 17 Year Old is quite a step up from their entry level version, the 12 Year Old. It will also cost you more than double.

On the nose, it is a lot sweeter with loads of fruit: Pink Ladies (the apples, I mean), pear, peach, dried apricots and even some green banana. The coastal character is there, but has to share the stage with the fruit. A bit salty and quite mineraly. Flints. Some heather, even. Then quite some vanilla and a whiff of smoke. This is very nice.

It is nice and round on the palate, with everything sweet in the front. Somewhat zesty, too. Quickly becomes very spicy: pepper, ginger, cinnamon and some cloves. Nice smoke. Heart warming.

In the zesty finish, besides the smoke, the oak also shows itself again.

The nose was absolutely fabulous, the palate more than oaky and nicely balanced. Around 75 EUR.

Mark: Thanks for the OP reviews. I own only the 12 and 17 yo's and was curious about the rest of the range, but your thoughts and scores suggest that the slight improvements in the older expressions aren't worth the investment when better drams can be had for a similar price. But like you, I'd love to have a taste of that 40 yo!

Pleasure. The 17yo is the best bang for your buck, I think.


So, I seem to be having the good fortune of bartenders making mistakes that go in my favor lately, and this was another. I ordered the Old Pulteney 12, and he accidentally poured me the 17. Sweet.

Nose: A lovely first impression; a sweet "hello." A bit of peppery burn, which I'm fond of. Licorice, honey, florals, open up to caramel. There is some fantastic depth here. A solid start.

Palate: Honey, clove and vanilla play a strong role in this palate at the start, which then give way to maple, which is very interesting in a fantastic way. Citrus notes are hidden there too, with apple and a bit of orange zest, with just a pinch of sea salt at the end. I'm very impressed.

Finish: More pepper, more maple, followed by some cinnamon. You also pick out more of the honey and sea salt that started on the palate. Not the longest finish, but a very good one.

This is a keeper. There is a place on every shelf for this bottle.

I'm with you. Can't wait to open my 21 year OP. I've never owned a 17, but I've tried it a few times at a bar near me. Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. The only surprise the 17 had for me that I didn't like was a slight hint in the flavor that reminded me the smell of a fresh gauze bandage right out of the wrapper. Weird, right? Well, it went way after about 20 minutes in the glass.

You're going to have to tell me how that 21 yr treats you. That could be a downright ringer of a bottle. I'm excited to hear about it. The 17 was dang good. I don't know, thinking back on it, I may have to bump this up a point or two... some interesting and very unique flavor profiles happening in that dram for sure.


The date stamp is smudged on this so I can't tell what batch it's from. Judging from the packaging it looks like the most recent, so I'm thinking 2012.

Nose: Apples. Pears. Honey and vanilla yogurt. Fruity notes seem to emerge more when the whisky is rolled around in the glass; left to sit still the vanilla yogurt note comes through more, along with some sweet, fresh malt. Very interesting. Fleeting whiffs of cola as well. I picked up this whisky a while back as a change of pace from my previously peat-heavy collection. A real breath of fresh air.

Taste: Hot diggity! For such a sweet and fresh nose, this ain't no flimsy whisky. Great mouthfeel. Full bodied. Sea salt on the arrival with a pleasant green-fruit zestiness. Honey and butter. Really clean sherry, hints of light beer and then a little bit of smoke. A little something for everybody here. Damn near perfect.

Finish: A REALLY nice, REALLY unique core-warming heat sets in after swallowing. Oak comes out in the finish. Light smoke lingers. Some grassy notes here and, I'll be damned, some floral hints too (rosewater and gardenia?). These are just subtle enough to be really enjoyable (previously I'd felt flowers belonged in perfume, not whisky). Taking another sip these floral notes poke through a bit in the taste as well. Long, very satisfying finish. So, soooo right. Man, this is good!

Incredible balance and development on this one. Some real pleasant surprises too. Looking back on this review, there are several things here that shouldn't work, but they do... really well... and I'm freakin' glad for it! Highly recommended.


The Old Pulteneys have been racking up awards of late, notably the 21 year old getting Jim Murray's 2012 Whisky of the year award. I hadn't had any, so I decided to see what the fuss was about. The 17 also got fabulous reviews from Whisky Magazine. Here we go!

Nose: Honey, beeswax, and something of red apple peel. Vanilla, dry, and slightly bitter oak. Anise/licorice (not quite sure which - slightly different, but related). A pretty neat cloudy cream akin to whole milk. Clean smoke sits at the back and draws this near a Clynelish, but we've got lots more vanilla here.

Palate: Honey and lemon! Light smoke-like element, but it's not actually smoke, if you take my meaning. Wood with a dry and slightly bitter note. More vanilla and then something oatmeal/grainy that is definitely related to the milk on the nose. The bitterness does very well and help keep this in balance.

Finish: Wax, honey, an dsome lemon-vanilla. Medium in length and light-medium in strength. Easy to like, even if a bit forward at times on the palate (and then a bit behind with the mealy flavor). I like this, though wish that it were a tad more complex, or played more with the smoke, which could have really brought this up. Still, I like Clynelish and I like this. B


This bottle is more money than I like to spend, with so many excellent whisky's priced under $75, it's hard to justify spending over $100. But I did and it's different than my usual fare. It's sweet and butterscotch like. The nose if kinda fruity like apples. I think vanilla is what I taste. It's very wet and finished for a long time. Not my favorite but my friends will enjoy it, cause that's what are getting, while I enjoy an Ardbeg ;)


A very soft and delicate nose with swirls of citrusy lemon and juicy pears. There is a whiff of something heathery too. The delivery is beautifully understated as it dances off your palate. At 46% ABV this is a man's drink but with a feminine touch. Ripe juicy barley coated in vanilla make their way to the back of the throat where the spices come into play. Creamy texture with a dash of five spice.

After a second sip I felt the presence of cereal and biscuits made in butter. There's something warm and cozy about this drink.


Nose: Starting sweet, with a few citrusy notes. Further nosing reveals a very sweet, even Bourbony if i might say. Dried fruits, Wood spices, and BIG BIG vanilla going on there. Lovely nose!

Palate: Sweet entry,Some woody notes, spices (mostly nutmeg) ,and vanilla. The palate delivers big time, and i liked it very much. Very balanced, everything in place. A real pleasure.

Finish : Long, Sweet with toffee and wood spices lingering….

Bottom line:

This is far better than the 12 year old, and even the WK209. It’s the clear winner of the night. Oodles of vanilla, and wood spices, integrated wonderfully. It’s almost twice as expensive as the 12 year old, but well worth the extra buck if you ask me. This is a class A dram, and I'm happy i got to sample it today. Definitely shoots its way up on my wish list. Good work Malcolm!


Old Pulteney 17 years old is made up of around 90% refill American bourbon barrels and a small percentage of refill oloroso / PX casks.

Old Pulteney 17 yo (46%, OB 2010)

Nose: very feminine compared to the 12 years old or WK209, also lighter and fresher. None of the beefy notes. Instead lots of vanilla and wax (how far is Clynelish distillery from Wick?). Pears and a little apricot. Even some tropical estery notes. Then it develops more grassy and austere notes. Very nice.

Mouth: full-bodied, oily attack. Fruity (apples) and vanilla again. Honey. Clearly noticeable oak: some tannins, many spices (cinnamon, nutmeg). Beautiful balance.

Finish: quite long with a little chocolate and lingering spices.

This Old Pulteney 17 years old is maybe the least typical member of the core range. So be it. The vanilla / wax / fruit combo really does it for me. A great dram worth the extra investment over the 12yo.

First sip of the 17 year old whilst reading your review and must agree, a great dram.


Nose, Taste, Finish and Balance are graded out of 2.5 each:

Nose: A very rich nose, with luscious wet soil and fragrant tulips sprouting out of it. Alongside this flowerbed we have a healthy orchard, with various fruits in abundance. Watermelon, banana, tangerine, and coconut all flourish, while buckets of farm fresh milk and creme fraiche are carried through the grounds. Candied seaweed, rhubarb and raisin round off this most organic of noses. Much like the 12 year old version, there are few whiskies on the nose alone that can seemingly transport you to such a distinct landscape as that of the Old Pulteney. 2.5

Taste: A full and warm character, as a soft oil coats the palate with sweetly cooked limes sitting in a bed of fine molten sugar. Fresh coconut swimming in maple syrup completes the festival of sugars and barley. 2.0

Finish: A loud and expansive wave of oak and spice, that remains long and lilting as it drifts rhythmically backwards and forwards. Underneath there is a sweet vegetal dimension to the expanse, as honeyed broccoli mixes with salt-n-pepper seasoned potato-skins. The coconut remains constant and ever-present, and there is a return of the tulips encountered earlier on the nose. A deep and rewarding finish. 2.0

Balance: Old Pulteney truly is distillery of authentic character, irrespective of one's subjective liking or disliking of the product. There isn't perhaps as vast a variety in its taste spectrum as with certain other coastal whiskies, however the flavours that are there are so specific and fluently delivered, and with dimensions that are so pronounced, that it remains one of the most distinctly complex whisky experiences that I know. 2.5

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