Old Pulteney 15yo 1982 (60.9%, OB, Millennium, Single Cask, Sherry Cask #1305, 229 bottles)

Two months ago I tried a rather young Old Pulteney from a Bourbon cask bottled by indie bottlers Cadenhead. That one was already quite nice for such a young whisky. As could be expected, the whole was rather clean and probably showed the characteristics of the Old Pulteney spirit. Rummaging through my stash, I found a sample of another Old Pulteney. This time one bottled by the distillery itself. Twice as old as the afore-mentioned 8yo ánd from a single Sherry cask. Thus some similarities and some differences. Both are super high strength Whiskies.

Color: Copper Gold

Nose: Creamy sherry. Very rounded out. Mild ánd spicy. Nice perfumy wood, that isn’t announcing obvious sourness, but smells like it will be sweet. Milk chocolate, powdery and some sea air. Very good balance.

Taste: Yeah! Hints of wood, with toffee, caramel, menthol and perfect sweetness, but there are some raw edges here and there. Mild woody spiciness completes the whole experience, where the whole is definitively more than the sum of its parts. Great warming touch in the finish. By the way the finish is also drier than one would expect. But still, this is really a stunner! The balance returns in the taste as well, so the whole is pretty fabulous.

This is so tasty that at this strength it is just to easy drinkable, dangerous stuff.

One point of criticism though. This bottle shows how great Old Pulteney can be. For me several Old Pulteneys bottled by independents also show this. Why then don’t I like the standard bottlings? I tried the 12yo and the 17yo (no notes available yet) and I didn’t like both that much. The first higher strength Isabella Fortuna bottling was a bit better, but still…

I’ll keep trying, but for the time being I will be more interested in the single cask bottlings of Old Pulteney, than their standard range.

Points: 91


Pulteney 8yo 1990/1998 (63.1%, Cadenhead, 222 bottles, 750 ml)

My good friend Christoph asked me to have a look at a clean bourbon cask whisky and look for mint. As it happens, I have just such a thing on my lectern, so let’s have an adventurous search for mint in this whisky. This whisky was opened on November, 27 2010 at a tasting session with my Whisky club “Het Genietschap” where the theme was “Whiskies younger than 10yo”. This was one of my entries (together with the Kilkerran). I remember I found it very closed when freshly opened. Just have a look at the picture from june 5, 2012. How full it still is.

Color: White wine, light gold.

Nose: Very clean bourbon nose, clean ethanol, some chocolaty wood and musty. Fresh sea air and powdery. Very typical for high cask strength young Cadenhead bourbon barrel whiskies. I’ve smelled everything there is now, no evolution, so we can move on to the taste. Beware it’s 63.1% ABV.

Taste: Strong and spicy, but not woody (just a bit). There’s also some smoke ánd a freshness resembling menthol a bit, but not mint. Everything is in the details. It’s great to taste something that’s spicy, not from the wood. It’s obviously sweet at this high strength, maybe a tad too sweet for my tastes. High alcohol with a lot of sugar can be a bit nauseating. This one’s on the precipice, but didn’t fall in.

As I said this is very typical for those high strength Cadenhead bottlings. They are very clean and reveal quite some information about how the cleanly distilled spirit from a distillery is. This is as honest as it can get, so it’s quite interesting to taste a few head to head. I guess this is a connoisseurs whisky. Not made for your gulping pleasure at a card game. And it can only be ‘enjoyed’ with caution. If you don’t give it enough attention, it will give you very little. The fun is maybe more in analyzing and discovery. The fun is also for those people (like me) who occasionally like their whiskies strong and utterly clean.

I once had a similar bottle of Tormore that was even stronger and older (13yo, 63.9%, 85 Points). There were many things wrong with it, like a very metallic taste, but still I had a lot of fun with it, when ‘enjoyed’ at the right moment. I found myself another bottle before it completely vanished of the face of the earth.

Sorry C. No mint, I’ll have to look further, or you have to taste this for yourself this summer 😉

Points: 84