I love Old Pulteney 17yr. But you know what I love more than the Old Pulteney 17yr?
PEOPLE! Buy this.
Seriously, if you find it at $40, you must consider the screaming deal at hand.
This OP twin killing is how I had the opportunity try both of these malts. The OP12 is a great step up from 'Fiddich and 'Livet. It has some curious sour and briny notes that I really enjoy. The 17 year is an entirely different creature.
Region: Northern Highlands (Wick)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Maturation: Primarily 2nd-fill ex-bourbon American oak casks, along with former Pedro Ximenez and oloroso sherry Spanish oak casks
Age: minimum 17 years
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
The color is a bright light gold. The welcoming nose flexes both the malt and oak. Mostly American white oak, but also a tiny bit of the ex-sherry oak. The fruits are more fresh than dried. There's a lot of honey butter and coconut cream. A little seaside too, along with some orange and lemon zests. The palate moves from milk chocolate to dark chocolate. Lemon, flower blossoms, caramel sauce, and confectioner's sugar. It's creamy with a brief peppery zing. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention a lively bold sour citrus note too. It finishes with toffee and sugar first. Then a little salt sneaks in along with a mossy moment. As it gradually fades away, a trail of mint remains.
The nose gets younger and spirity. Lots of vanilla and malt. Apples. A little citrus, strawberries, and bubblegum. Caramel sauce leads in the palate, then some cereal grains and sweet fruit juice. Both grassy and floral. A pleasant sourness remains. A little sherry in the finish. Some milk chocolate and toffee too. Salts & sweets & sours.
It took a while for the hydrated version to grow on me, but (as usual) I prefer this one neat.
My notes say, "What if there was a Glenfiddich 105?" Maybe the OP17 inspired that thought. I really don't know what I was referring to, but I thought I'd just share that.
Back to the OP17. As Jordan from Chemistry of the Cocktail noted, this one's pretty light for a 46% ABV. According to Serge's reviews this whisky keeps changing character over the years. He may be onto something, as everyone who's reviewed it online seems to find his or her own unique notes within the glass. Perhaps this is due to different proportions of the sherried-vs-American oak; a little more PX one year, more bourbon in another. There wasn't a lot of sherry oak in this batch, unless it was from 2nd or 3rd fill casks. Also, according to Dominic Roskrow's 1001 Whiskies, while Old Pulteney 12 year's American oak casks are first-refill, the 17 year's are 2nd refill.
I do enjoy the whiskys that test the permutations of blending American and European oak matured malt. Big ups/props/credit to the distilleries that bottle their whisky (especially those on the pricier end of the range) at 46%, too.
I cannot guarantee that you'll like OP17 as much as I. So rather than shelling out $80+ for a bottle, you may want to keep an eye out for that Twin Pack. If I haven't scooped them all up first...
Availability - Many liquor specialists
Pricing - for the 750mL bottle - at $70 :) , but at $100 :(
Rating - 90