This is a very rare bottling. The Whisky Connoisseur, from what I’ve found, was part of a whole series of mail order / web companies (Scotland Direct, Scottish Gourmet, The Home Gift Shop…) run by Arthur J.A. Bell in Thistle Mill, Biggar.
During the 1990’s they seem to have bottled quite a lot of single malts, mostly with concealed (but always consistent) names. My miniature says The Ellisland but the backlabel mentions ‘containing Old Pultney’ (sic). Here’s a list of their naming conventions in case you’re interested.
In 2009 the company was nominated for the award of best online outlet by Whisky Magazine but in the meantime they seem to have disappeared and their website redirects to another mail order company. I’ve read that the founder had to stop due to health problems.
Anyway back to our bottle. It’s a single cask Old Pulteney distilled in 1974. I couldn’t find references to a full bottle, so maybe this was just a miniature release.
Old Pulteney 18 yo 1974
‘The Ellisland’ (57,8%, The Whisky Connoisseur ‘The Robert Burns Collection’ 1993, cask #1132)
Nose: a big maritime character. Sea air and kelp. Some wet chalk. Also herbal teas, mint and a little chamomile. Buttercups too. I’m quite sure this was peated. Some buttery notes, hay and meadow flowers. Not entirely sexy but a nice surprise.
Mouth: punchy, quite a bit sweeter than expected. Honeys and fruit jams. Tinned pineapple and oranges. Vanilla cake. Still a peaty base and these typical maritime notes, as well as some ginger and liquorice.
Finish: long, half peaty, half fruity.
A pleasant surprise, both for its relatively peaty profile and for its pleasantly sweet fruitiness.