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Monday, April 24, 2017

Old Pulteney 12 year old (blind tasting)

This past weekend I did a blind tasting of four recent Old Pulteney expressions. FULL DISCLOSURE: Amy from Ten27 Communications sent me a heapin' helping of Old Pulteney bottles recently (thank you, Amy!). I thought the best way to get a good idea of their qualities would be to taste them side by side, blindly. So I did three of those whiskies, and added in a generous sample of an OP NAS release that MAO sent me via a sample swap (thanks, MAO!).

My, she was yar.
And also on fire.
The first of these four was the most well known of the bunch, Pulteney's 12 year old. I reviewed the 12yo four-and-a-half years ago, also from my own bottle. That was a 2012 bottling, this is a 2016.

Distillery: Pulteney
Ownership: Inver House (via Thai Beverages plc via International Beverage Holdings Ltd.)
Region: Northern Highlands (Wick)
Type: Single Malt
Maturation: ex-bourbon American oak casks (I think)
Age: minimum 12 years
Bottled: 2016
Bottle code: L16/074 R16/5108 IB 14/18
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
Chillfiltered? Yes
Colored? Yes

Its color is the second darkest of the four, a medium gold. The nose leads with apples and pears. Brine and burnt butter. Caramel, citronella and slight plastic note. It picks up a lot of saline with time. The palate is mild, but super malty. Toasted almonds and bread crusts. A moderate amount of vanilla bean. Hints of dried oregano and Worcestershire sauce. Texture is a bit thin and watery, though. It finishes with the oregano and savory-ish note. Salt and citrus in the aftertaste. It later sips, it picks up more sweetness and oak.

It's malty and salty, with a touch of umami. It's not the most immediately approachable 12yo for fans of Johnnie Walker and Chivas. But after one has gotten comfortable with the familiar Glens, OP12 is a good challenge. Tasting it now, it feels like a decent early-spring whisky.

If they bottled it at 46%abv and cut the chillfiltration, this would be one of the best 12yo OBs. Still, I do commend the company for keeping the price (usually) below $40, and sometimes it can be found for nearly $30, which gives it a decent quality-price-ratio in the current market. Though my notes are different than the 2012 bottling's review, I'm going to give it the same rating.

Availability - Wide
Pricing - $30-$50
Rating - 83

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