Old Pulteney 16, 2002

I forgot to say on Monday that this week’s theme is bourbon cask whisky. The week kicked off with a 9 yo Linkwood. Here now is a 16 yo Old Pulteney. I have not reviewed very many Pulteneys on the blog: a total of eight over the last eight and a half years and the last was more than two years ago. After my visit to the distiller in 2018—as I said, one of the very best distillery tours I’ve been on—I’d hoped to try more of the distillery’s whisky. But it’s not one that’s widely available from the indies and certainly not in the US. Like the 14 yo I reviewed in 2019, this is an official single cask release. This one was released in the Japanese market. Let’s see what it’s like.

Old Pulteney 16, 2002 (54.2%; cask 722; from a bottle split)

Nose: Very salty off the top with wet wool and vegetal notes below (boiled and mashed turnips). On the second sniff there’s some mineral oil. With time some fruitier notes emerge (lime peel, gooseberry and then much later some sweeter stone fruit). With a few drops of water the sweeter fruit is emphasized and the wet wool turns into a cereal note.

Palate: Comes in pretty much as advertised by the nose except with the sweet ahead of the salt which comes in as I swallow. Oily texture and very approachable at full strength. With each sip the char from the finish comes out earlier and the lime peel expands. Okay, let’s add water. Ah yes, more fruit-forward here too now.

Finish: Long. As the wet wool and salt crest some char develops. Water pushes back the salt and turns the char to pepper.

Comments: A very classic, austere bourbon cask Pulteney; which is to say a very good old-school Highlands profile. Well, I liked this a lot. But I’m guessing that the price asked for it was probably rather high. Well, I guess I will try to renew my acquaintance with the official releases that are available in the US.

Rating: 88 points.



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