I purchased this Pulteney from Cadenhead’s in Marylebone on my visit a couple of weeks ago. They sell a range of minis of their various bottlings, and as they don’t seem to be set up to let customers taste bottles they’re interested in it’s the only way to try before you buy. In theory, at least: in practice, right now they only have a mini of one bottle that is actually still in stock and this Pulteney is not it (it’s a 12 yo Balmenach, if you want to know). Still, the price was less than that of a pour in most bars and so I decided to buy it (and a few others) anyway. There aren’t that many opportunities to taste indie Pulteney out there and I did like an even younger one Cadenhead’s bottled a long while ago (this 8 yo, distilled in 1990). And as I also have a review lined up of another young indie Pulteney (from a sherry cask), I thought I’d put this review of a bourbon cask up first and make it seem like I had a master plan.
Pulteney 11, 2006 (56.1%; Cadenhead’s Authentic Collection; from a purchased mini)
Nose: Increasingly yeasty/bready with sour notes mingling with milder sweetness. The sour notes turn more chalky and then more acidic (gooseberry, very tart apple) before settling into a malty core with an acidic layer on top. With water the plasticky notes from the palate begin to pop out on the nose as well.
Palate: More or less the same mix here but the bready, malty notes are dominant here. This is like sourdough bread whisky. With time and air there’s some sweet lime but it also starts getting more and more astringent/plasticky and grainy. Okay, let’s see if water improves this. No, it gets even more bitter with water, unpleasantly so.
Finish: Long. The bready thing continues here and it develops a bit of peppery bite. As on the palate with water.
Comments: If not for the astringent thing that develops on the palate this would have been a solid, if unremarkable, highly malty, malt whisky. Not sure I’d still have wanted a second pour though (and, frankly, after more than an hour I couldn’t finish this one after I’d added water). I’ll take the OB 12 over this any day.
Rating: 76 points.
For a very different take on this whisky, see here.
Sounds like they needed to rerack it into a more active cask and let that sit for a few more years.
Or this cask should have gone to the blenders’ vats. Then again, my view and score are at the low end of the spectrum of responses to this: the blog I linked to above gives it an A+.