Last year, when this came out, it was quickly ramped up to be ‘the next best thing’. Generally, in the world of whisky, these things die down quickly, but in this case the ratings and reviews kept popping up, and the scores on Whiskybase didn’t get lower either.
In our whisky club we generally talk about binary voters. This is a thing Whiskybase, as does any other public rating system, suffers from. People who only hand out votes that are (exaggerated) either 10 points, or 95 points. This warps scores, but when ratings start to amass and there’s a couple dozen of them, it averages out to a more apt representation of what’s actually going on.
This whisky, after being scored 50 times, sits comfortably at little over 90 points. This is good. Very, very good. So here’s my take!
Lots of ‘wet’ sherry, with some baking spices, dried fruits and nuts. Dates, hazelnuts, almonds. Behind is a rich oakiness, with a slightly coastal hint of brine.
The palate is quite strong and a tad more spicy than the nose is. A bit more oak and barley. The coastal salinity is still present, even a bit more emphasized. A tiny bit leathery.
A dry and spicy finish. A bit bread like, with crunchy crusts and toast. Apricot jam on top. But also almonds, hazelnuts, oak.
Honestly, this is a truly cracking dram. I love these north-east Scottish distilleries (Clynelish, Pulteney, Highland Park and others), but this is an exceptional whisky. Generally I’m more familiar with bourbon matured Pulteney, and generally, I think the spirit works better in that type of cask, however, this is the exception that proves the rule.
The combination of spices, fruit and nuts, combined with the more predictable oak make for a very well balanced, and very interesting whisky that keeps you coming back for more. I know I went through my half-bottle rather quickly!
Old Pulteney, 19yo, 1999-2019, Refill Sherry Butt from batch 19/120, 56.5%.
Miraculously, it’s still available at The Whisky Exchange, for £ 140