Old Pulteney 1990 Vintage
Right around 1989 and 1990 the good people at Pulteney distillery got their hands on a supply of ex-Islay casks, both ex-sherry and ex-bourbon. Formerly from Laphroaig, if I’m not mistaken. They decided it was a good idea to fill these peaty casks with some Pulteney new make, just to see what happens. They then waited for a fair amount and in 2013 it was decided the whisky was ready to be bottled.
This resulted in a fairly unique Old Pulteney, since there’s usually no peat to be detected in distillate from this distillery in the Northern Highlands. I have a particular fondness for anything Pulteney, especially the spirit from middle-aged ex-bourbon casks. And since I’m also quite enamored by whiskies with a subtle peatiness, I wonder if the added layer of peat might boost this Pulteney to a whole new level of deliciousness.
Old Pulteney 1990 Vintage (46%, OB)
Nose: Fairly light. Candied oranges, melon, soft oak and cotton rope. Hints of marzipan and lemon too. Very light smokiness.
Taste: A peaty influence. Not super dominant, but you can’t miss it either. A tad spicy, mainly white pepper. Some lemon, vanilla and cappuccino too. A bit chalky.
Finish: Peat, lemon and chalk. Touch of white chocolate in the end. Medium to long.
It misses the velvety, creamy quality I often enjoy in Pulteney. I’m not too sure about the peat influence either, it makes it feel less Pulteney to me. Which of course as a Pulteney lover, is not something you’d want. Although I shouldn’t get too negative here. It is a very good whisky still, with a nice mixture of sherry and bourbon influence.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.