Tonight (14th Aug 2013) we’ve been reviewing three new Old Pulteney’s in their NAS Lighthouse series via a Twitter Tasting (i.e. a bunch of us on Twitter use the hashtag #OldPulteney to discuss these drams as a group).
The three new expressions showcase the Old Pulteney coastal style from three different maturation angles. The whiskies Pulteney Distillery’s maritime heritage by celebrating prominent local lighthouses – Noss Head, Duncansby Head and Pentland Skerries… all drams at 46%, they’re non chill-filtered and not coloured – always a plus with whisky enthusaists. These are all released into the travel retail market, which means you’ll be hard pressed to find them in most shops, and will generally only find them at airport duty free shops. However with reviews below in hand you’ll know what one(s) you may want to grab if you find them!
So let’s crack on… here’s the reviews…
Noss Head lighthouse is located four miles north of the distillery. The whisky was matured wholly in ex-bourbon American oak casks, presented with natural colour.
Cololur: Light straw, nice and natural.
Nose: Light and slightly spirity, a little maritime (salty), but not maybe as much as expected. Malty and slightly citrusy, summery fruits. Back to malt/barley.
Palate: Very easy drinking at the slightly higher than often found ABV. Reasonably thick oily mouthfeel which if held on the tongue for a little bit turns reasonably spicy. Nice sweet and malty, much more likable than I was expecting.
Finish: Light and warming, medium in length, woody notes winning out with spices and sweetness sticking around. Right at the end of the finish is a touch of roughness reminding you that this is a NAS whisky, so probably has some younger spirit in it.
Thoughts: Excellent start… I can fall in and out of love with Old Pulteney, but this is definitely one more to love than not, for me it’s better than the 12yo.
RRP is £39.99 for 1 litre bottle.
Duncansby Head lighthouse is located slightly further north and the whisky is matured in a combination of ex-bourbon casks and Spanish ex-sherry casks, natural colour.
Colour: Very light gold to straw.
Nose: That unmistakable distillery character of maritime salt, but tempered with hints of autumn fruits intertwined amongst the malty summeryness. Spiced stewed red apples with a drop of caramel. Leave this one to air for a bit!
Palate: Thick and sweet with a teaspoon of spices. Red toffee apples. That bit more depth than Noss Head with the sherry addition giving a fruity back note to the dram which is well deserved.
Finish: Again, warming, slightly spicy and medium in length. The last lingering roughness found in Noss Head is helped out here with the sherry and doesn’t make it’s presence so noticeable. All in all a great ending which has some fresh grassy notes.
Thoughts: Although Noss Head was actually very good, this is more superior, the additional sweetness from the sherry influence works nicely here. Definitely pay the extra fiver here, it’s worth it.
RRP is £44.99 for 1 litre bottle.
Pentland Skerries celebrates two lighthouse towers of the same name located at the eastern entrance to the Pentland Firth. The whisky was matured wholly in Spanish ex-sherry butts and is again not coloured.
Colour: An honest gold. Often you’d expect sherry maturation to be darker, but do you have colouring in your whisky? Defo none here!
Nose: If you’re into Speyside whiskies (i.e. generally sherried ones) then this has a much more classically recognisable nose, it’s salty, that’s a given for OP, but it’s rich in dark sherry fruits. Raisins, sultanas, the works. A much more pungently rich nose than you’d expect given the light colouring.
Palate: Instantly a slight wood hit (that’s been missing from the others a little) before coating your mouth with medium oils and some spices. The sherry influence found on the nose isn’t quite as forthcoming at first on the palate, you start with classic OP maritime which is then backed up quickly by growing fruits the more you wait with it in your mouth. Once they do arrive they’re nicely balanced, refined and sweet… grape pips and other notes from dried winter fruits. Oloroso and PX sherries together maybe?
Finish: Reasonably long, the maritime notes and autumn fruits marry together nicely to leave a longer lasting warmth on your chest. Much more of a rich mid to late evening dram.
Thoughts: Is the extra ten (or fifteen) quid worth it here? Don’t forget you’re getting a larger bottle size… For me, yes, it’s worth that much extra… for others who prefer fresher tasting whisky then maybe go for the Duncansby Head.
The RRP is £54.99 for 1 litre.
Thanks to Old Pulteney for the samples.