Old Pulteney – 12 Year Old – Single Malt Scotch Whisky | 43% (86 Proof) $32.99 BevMo or (Here for slightly less)
Color/Appearance: Sunset glow on the water. Magic hour lighting on a white wall. Great bottle with pot still evoking shape. Easy to hold and pour and fits into almost any size shelf. No information about chill-filtration and colorant and I do believe both are used here. Oh well, at this price point craft presentation is not exactly rampant.
Nose: Green grapes, sea salt, vanilla, sweet barley, fresh cut grass and toffee. Bright, coastal and fresh, evoking a summer’s day at the shore. Dry rope, worn wooden boats, and steel fittings. Hay and cider doughnuts. At first before this malt had a chance to open up in the bottle the scent of salt was overpowering but once it has the opportunity to air out and integrate the scents really start to blossom.
Palate: Honey drips onto your tongue followed quickly by a blast of peppery bite, twisting into notes of heather and salt. The sweetness is balanced nicely by the sharp spice and salt. Easy drinking but also very interesting and rugged. I like this profile a lot, but I am a sucker for coastal salt.
Finish: Salty and tangy flavors push onwards after your sip with some very light oak providing a touch of dryness. Though this malt seems to achieve its balance more through spicy salty power, than from wood involment.
Overall: This one really deserves a category for sounds. Drinking this allows me to hear the harbor; water gently lapping against boat hulls, wind rushing by your ears, old ropes groaning as they stretch and sway, thumping of boots as they cross the wooden docks, with the sharp shrill call of a seagull snapping me back to reality. This bottle once allowed to open up, has evolved, getting better and better. If you are looking for a very affordable single malt that evokes the coast and has a lot of character, this is your bottle. Clean and fresh while presenting some challenge, it is a simple malt that aspires for more. I can see how this profile would be well served by further aging and hope to try the 17 and 21 year old expressions. With its rough edges rounded, fruity elements grown into something more complex and prominent, with a more involved wood influence, this could really be something. If you are looking for a coastal dram without the influence of peat this is surely one to try.