Review: Old Pulteney 21 Years Old

Category: Highland single malt scotch whisky

Bottle: Official

ABV: 46%

Cost: £92.99 for 70cl from Master of Malt

Score: 90/100

Old Pulteney 21 Years Old

What they say:

Old Pulteney 21 Year Old has been voted 2012 World Whisky of the Year by the prestigious “Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.”

Scoring a record-equalling 97.5 points out of 100, it is only the third time that a single malt has ever won the prestigious award, and we are just the second Scottish distillery to do so.

Tasting notes:

As with the 17-year-old, with this expression we marry together Old Pulteney matured in ex-bourbon wood with spirit from ex-sherry wood casks. The crucial difference, however, is that the ex-sherry wood in this case is made from American Oak (mostly Fino sherries). This adds yet another layer of complexity, depth and character to this truly superb malt whisky.

Colour – Golden amber with straw highlights.

Nose – Full bodied with traces of fruits (apples and pears); slightly fragrant with spicy overtones.

Palate – Sweet to start with a light fruitiness; hints of honey and vanilla followed by a dry finish.

What I say:

After the rave review in the 2012 version of Jim Murray’s whisky bible I had to get my hands on a bottle of this 21 Years Old expression from one of my favourite distilleries! I rather cannily picked this up from World of Whiskies at Edinburgh Airport for around £60 before the hype and the prices had raised too much. At first I was a little disappointed along with other Whiskyphiles who had also rushed out to buy this dram as we didn’t see what all the fuss was about after trying it. Over time however I have come to really appreciate this expression and agree that it is damn fine.

Colour:

Deep gold

Nose:

Sweet estery banana and apples, honey and cherry blossom perfume, before the start of the toffee and caramel and apples that I associate with Old Pulteney tinged with a delicate earthen smokiness

Taste:

Initially sweet toffee apple and vanilla then a mild oak wood spice that tastes like it should be drying but is counteracted by the mouth wateringly syrupy nature of salted caramel and Demerara sugar.

Finish:

The finish is long and light, with a toffee and barley sugar sweetness which is eventually slightly drying and moreish

Would I buy it again:

At duty free prices I dare say I would continuously stock this within my collection! The more you drink this the more it reveals subtle flavours and elements which all swirl over the tongue effortlessly. I have to admit this is not knock-your-socks-off the best whisky I have ever tasted, but it is hugely drinkable and combines that coastal, slightly smoky toffee apple style that Old Pulteney produce and presents it perfectly. I would challenge most drinkers to find any fault or flaw in this expression, this is a step up from the 12 Years Old which to me is the ideal introductory whisky for new drinkers and I rate it very highly. This is the 12 Years Old with bells on!