This Old Pulteney is called the “Clipper,” which commemorates a yacht that took part in an around-the-world race. It’s a limited edition NAS, which doesn’t usually fly with critics. Pulteney in particular has taken a lot of flak for their NAS releases. People don’t seem to respond well to them. But I love Pulteney. It’s one of my favourite distilleries, so I’ve still got to try it for myself.
Nose: Initially closed off and youngish, it needs water and time. Banana, canned pineapple, pear, vanilla custard, cranberry sauce, dark honey, brown sugar, and some faint baking spices. Not quite as clean and coastal as the core range, but with a stronger sherry presence. Interesting.
Palate: A salty arrival, which moves into some rich and luxurious dessert notes. Hazelnut coffee, milk chocolate, whipped cream, caramel, brownies, gingerbread, orange juice, and Nanaimo bars (How's that for a Canadian reference!).
Finish: Rather long and complex. Oak, white chocolate, and cinnamon dominate. Gingerbread cookies, brine, fennel, faint smoke, honey, herbs, citrus, citronella, apple sauce, and heather are also here.
Thoughts: Not the Pulteney you know for sure. The sherry presence is stronger and sweeter than it is with the core range, lending some fruity complexity. True to form, there’s still a strong salty/coastal element to this. But it’s surely the sweetest Pulteney I’ve tried. The luxurious dessert notes on the palate were unexpected. And the oak, white chocolate, and cinnamon flavours give it a certain character. A good whisky, but I wouldn't quite call it balanced, and it takes a certain mood. But I think it deserves more love than it gets. This stuff is salty, sweet, and even a little savory. Pulteney’s core range is still better value for money, though.
An interesting and extremely descriptive review, @hunggar. Thanks very much.
Back in 2011 before Mr. Murray brought Old Pulteney 21 to world attention, @Wodha, I, and just 2 or 3 other Connosrs were busy singing Old Pulteney's praises online. Our OP fan club was very small then, but has become massive since, with all of the Old Pulteney publicity and exposure of recent years.
I am always interested in tasting any Old Pulteney expression, and I hope I get to try Clipper. Did you taste Navigator? That one was also different from the typical Old Pulteney line, but I would not say that it was sweet. From your report I would say that Clipper, like Navigator, would have its own distinct special mood for maximum appreciation.
@Victor, no I haven't tried the Navigator, although I've often thought about picking it up. Reviews tend to range from low to average for NAS Pulteneys, though. Interesting that in your Navigator review and in my review above we point out a general lack of balance. It could be the master blender's shortcoming. But personally I think it's more likely that this spirit/distillery simply isn't suited for the coming age of No Ages.