Single malt whisky - tasting notes

10 May 2012

Old Pulteney distillery visit

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in * Distillery visits|Old Pulteney

Old Pulteney Isabella FortunaThis morning I arrived at Wick airport for the first distillery visit in our little Inver House trip: Old Pulteney, the most northerly distillery on the Scottish mainland (until the plans for the reopening of the 19th century Wolf Burn distillery are granted).

Wick is a fairly small town nowadays, but it used to be the busiest herring fishing harbour in Europe. We stopped a moment to visit the Isabella Fortuna, a herring boat that inspired the distillery for its WK499 release. After the series’ second release WK209, we’ll probably see other duty free releases in the near future.


Old Pulteney still roomPulteney distillery itself is fairly compact and has a peculiar urban style: it lacks the typical pagoda roof and it’s quite discreet from the outside. It’s not until you go into the inner courtyard that you see the operations. Distillery manager Malcolm Waring gave us a very pleasant tour, showing us the old mash tun (to be replaced in June 2012 together with some other refurbishing), the uncommon dry yeast that is used (as their location up North wouldn’t allow the delivery of liquid yeast during heavy winters) and the huge ball on the wash still.


Old Pulteney warehouseWe also visited some of the five warehouses (three dunnage and two racked) where approximately 25.000 casks are maturing. In one of them we tasted most of the range (Old Pulteney 17 years, Old Pulteney 21 years and Old Pulteney 30 years) as well as the current “distillery only” offer, a very interesting and uncommonly waxy 1997 single bourbon cask #1086 (£ 70) that I could bottle myself and proudly brought home.

In the near future an Old Pulteney 40 years old will be released, a marriage of two 1968 casks. It will hit the market as soon as the exquisite packaging is ready.

It’s great to see a distillery that’s a little uncommon in some ways, producing a spirit with a unique character, growing ever more popular. The ratio of single malt production vs. blending spirit is now 50/50 and they know their future is really in Old Pulteney as a single malt distillery.

It has been a great starting point for this trip. Thanks Malcolm.

Old Pulteney distillery visit Ruben Luyten 2012-05-10



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Coming up

  • Highland Park 1995 (Whisky Mercenary)
  • Laphroaig Lp6 (Elements of Islay)
  • Irish Single Malt 27yo 1988 (The Nectar of the Daily Drams)
  • Irish Single Malt 16yo 1999 (The Nectar of the Daily Drams)
  • Bunnahabhain 1987 (Maltbarn)
  • Glen Garioch 1993 (Maltbarn)
  • Glenlivet 42yo (Cadenhead)
  • Auchentoshan 1994 (Whisky Agency)
  • Blended Malt Extra Old (Whisky Agency)
  • Woodford Reserve Master's Collection
  • Teeling 26yo Vintage Reserve
  • Springbank 2001 vintage

1860 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.