Monday, October 17, 2016

Whisky Review: Old Pulteney 12 years Single Malt Scotch Whisky

"Where is he?" Keith fumed.

We were sitting on the front porch of mon maison.  Fishing rods with shiny brass reels, grandad's creel, a dented bottle-green metal tackle box, and other implements of marine life destruction were propped up against the railing.  I slouched further in my Adirondack chair that my wife had declared, at breakfast, must be painted before winter.  I easily peeled away some of the yellow paint with my fingernail and pondered if that chore could be done before it got too cold, given it was now October.

I snapped out of my handyman trance due to the chirping metal sounds of the Tin Snail braking as it turned onto my street.  The '72 Citroën DS Break was one pale, sea green, junk fish of a vehicle that had headlights reminiscent of a shark's snout and eyes.

We piled into the station wagon.  I took the front seat, figuring Keith would not be be super talkative given Roger's tardiness by about 45 minutes.  Whatever, I didn't care.  I knew Roger and so did Keith.  Roger didn't make it on time for anything, unless you were his date, half his age, straw blonde, and eligible to tryout for the US Women's Olympic Volleyball team.  But, he was a Gauloises billowing, easy-going Brit Francophile who was willing to haul us out to a remote fishing spot, expend probably a small fortune in gas, and then cheerfully pick us up at the end of the day, cook up whatever we caught and pair it with a Muscadet, Pouilly-Fumé or other bouteille de vin out of his cellar.  I, of course, would handle the whisky pairing with dinner, and also a pairing with our pastime of casting our lures in hope of hooking some din-din.

You want a whisky that compliments the great hobby of angling, but doesn't become a distraction because it is amazingly complex or gag-reflex terrible.  The chosen whisky has to be pleasant, able to keep us company, but not too chatty like the software salesman seated next to you on a long flight, or the know-it-all retiree you get paired with on a golf course.  Had to be cheap too!  All these pressing considerations caused me to select Old Pulteney 12 years Single Malt Scotch.  It has a marine and fishy quality without being very complex or expensive that seemed well suited for our chosen leisure activity.

Widely available.

Pretty much one of the cheapest 12 year old single malts available.  Frequently discounted by retailers.

700ml bottle, so 50ml less than the typical Scotch bottle.  I can overlook this because of the low price.

40% is the bottle I have, but other countries sometimes get 43%.

Cork stopper.

Chill Filtered?

Artificial Coloring (E150A)

Nose (undiluted)
Briny Maritime notes, restrained sweetness, rainfall, damp evening lakeside air, soft wood smoke, smooth peat.

Palate (undiluted)
Salty taste of the foaming sea, lemon rind, rosewood, a hint of Ocean Spray Cranberry Cocktail, faint oak.

Finish (undiluted)
Short but interesting.   Notes of bacon, mackerel, kippers but rhubarb too, ginger and lemon again.

General Impressions
Everything I have read about Old Pulteney claims that it is aged exclusively in ex-bourbon casks.  I am surprised because I really think I taste some aging in sherry wood.  I really do.  A little sherry, dark and sweet red fruits.  Hmmm.  Evidently I am mistaken.

. . .

Old Pulteney fit the bill as a pleasing economy sipper to accompany Keith and I while we stood quietly on the stony shore, facing the dark blue lake, hoping to land our dîner before the Gallic Shark returned to collect us in his rusty Tin Snail!


Jason Debly

Photo Credit: Citroen photos by Jason Torchinsky who is the holder of copyright and all moral rights.  His great review of his passion for Citroens available here.  All the other photos are mine and feel free to use them for non-commercial purposes.


  1. Hope you caught your dinner! :). Cheers

  2. If the ex-bourbon casks contained a high rye content bourbon, could that give the sherry impression you perceive? My palate isn't quite as acute, but that's what came to mind..

    1. Great observation! I never thought of that. There is definitely a sherry-like note to the flavor profile.

  3. Afraid I'm asking for help here because I don't know nearly as much as your regular readers! I'm starting to look for a Christmas present for a special someone, and trying to figure out a unique enough Scotch to bring back from him (as I'm spending a semester in England, with Scotland beckoning from up north). He's a fan of Aberlour, Macallan, and Glenlivet...but I know those are just the names I recognize enough to remember! Do you have any suggestions for me? I'm not terribly concerned about I said, he's special.

    1. If price is no object, Balvenie Portwood 21 years is an excellent choice which I am sure that special someone would love.

      A more affordable alternative would be Glenfarclas 17 years or Glenmorangie 12 Quinta Ruban.

      If you need more suggestions, just drop me a line.

  4. Is that it for reviews? I was really enjoying them

    1. I will try to post something new. I just have been busy and I also do Youtube reviews that is time consuming also:

      Keith was over last night yapping about a new app his employer wants him to work on. We were sipping some malts and then Keith showed up with some Tomatin 14 and then all hell broke loose!

      I will report shortly!