Old Pulteney Huddart, 15yo & 18yo

Old Pulteney Range Header

I don’t think anyone could quite believe it when Old Pulteney discontinued their highly acclaimed, award winning 21 year old expression. I actually know someone who audibly gasped at the news, became wide-eyed with incredulity, and then had to sit down for a few moments to collect themselves

*cough, cough* The Drinks Lady *cough, cough*

Then, a few months later, when they announced they were stopping production of the 17yo expression (which I think I probably preferred out of the those two whiskies), more than a few of us wondered where the brand was going next. Recently, we got our answer.

Complete with a little nip and tuck to the packaging, the Old Pulteney core range came back with a bang. The 12yo flagship expression is still the foundation of the range and she hasn’t changed in terms of recipe, although she now sports sleek, silvery-grey cladding. In place of the 17yo and the 21yo, we have a 15yo and an 18yo. Both of these whiskies have been matured initially in refill American Oak bourbon casks before being finished in first fill Spanish Oak sherry butts. There’s also an NAS addition to the range, Huddart, named after the street in the town of Wick on which the distillery is located. This has been matured in refill American Oak bourbon casks before being finished in bourbon casks which previously held heavily peated whisky.

Old Pulteney Huddart
46% ABV
£44.95 here

Nose: Grilled lemons and limes, crunchy green apples, quite creamy and fatty, and very coastal; rock pools, harbour air, cold smoked salmon and beach bonfire.

Palate: Prominent citrus notes to begin; lemon curd and lime juice. Then vanilla cream, some copper notes, and a slight mineralic edge (akin to a stone hearth) with woodsmoke.

Finish: Charred logs, bonfire embers and some charred marshmallows.

Old Pulteney 15yo
46% ABV
£69.95 here

Nose: Lots of fruits; apricot, apple strudel, poached pear and orange peel. Then dusty, dried flower, dried cranberries, honey on toast, well fired crème brûlée, sawn oak and baking spices.

Palate: Some peppercorn spice, then cherry loaf, bourbon biscuits, slightly burnt salted caramel, more baking spices, and some dark chocolate. Dry twigs, toasted vanilla pods and some drying oak too.

Finish: Chocolate orange, black tea and drying oak.

Old Pulteney 18yo
46% ABV
£114.95 here

Nose: Quite earthy, cacao, leather, Morello cherries, overdone hot cross buns, blackberry, rum soaked raisins, well done apple crumble, muscovado sugar and some Earl Grey tea.

Palate: Rather viscous, with austere mahogany, old leather, old boot polish, hessian, stewed fruit compote, unlit cigar, some chocolatey notes, cinder toffee and toasted oak.

Finish: Cask char, some prunes and dates with aromatic spices.

Overall: Three very different, and rather impressive, expressions. With the Huddart, I like the combination of salty/sweet whisky along with the smoky element, and the 15yo is a great step up from the 12yo, with some added depth from the sherry finish. The 18yo, however, really blew me away. If you gave me this blind and told me it was 22/23/24 years old I’d totally believe you – the complexity, the myriad of ‘old’ notes, and the very textural mouthfeel combine to make for a really excellent whisky. Sure, for an 18 year old it’s on the high side in terms of price, but in terms of flavour it’s would easily hold its own alongside 25 year old whisky. And when you think of it like that, and consider the prices of 25 year old whiskies, this is a steal. Fantastic stuff.

 

 

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