So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Old Pulteney 8yo G&M 40%

Old Pulteney used to be the northernmost distillery on mainland Scotland, though that honour now belongs to Wolfburn, it is still one of only a select few distinctive Northern Highland distilleries. Why is Old Pulteney in Wick? Pulteneytown, the town sitting south of the river Wick, and its local distillery took their names from Sir William Pulteney. The Royal Burgh of Wick sat on the north side of the river and over time the administration of Pulteneytown fell to Wick.

Wick itself is a story of boom and bust, a tragedy of the local fishing industry and its over-exploitation of herring – ‘silver darlings’. And whether it be well-boozed fishermen or downtrodden unemployed, the local libation was consumed with abandon. The natural ramifications of such riotry was dealt with harshly:  a solution was found in the town going dry for a time. These stories and more are beautifully illustrated in the distillery’s visitor centre.

IMG_0916 IMG_0917

Naturally I was more interested in the famously balled stills with kinked arms and extra large purifiers:


Needless to say these are very strange stills by Scottish standards – the legend is that when the stills were installed they were found to be too tall and the neatest solution was to chop off the top and kink the lyne arms.

The distillery itself? A little grey and drab. But given that Wick is a town that can be sunny in the morning and covered in thick sea fog in an hour, one suspects the gold of good whisky is held higher than painted walls in these parts.


To illustrate, the coast off Wick at midday:


(commercial image)

Nose  Nose: Somewhat weak. Damp cardboard plus some malt. Stewed fruit with a lick of smoke and a twist of the salt shaker. Followed by something like snuffed orange candles.

Taste  Palette: Medium bodied, and somewhat anemic due to the strength. Bittersweet herbs like sorrel, and stewed starchy vegetables that quickly turn sweeter into fruit (yay). More smoke, and again that curious orange wax scent.

Finish Finish: Arrives rather soon, very ‘canned’ sweetness, smoke and salt. Also some strange leftover boiled vegetable notes.




It’s a highlander with a ‘unique personality’ at 8 years young and 40%. Feels like it could grow up to be real charming.


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This entry was posted on February 9, 2015 by in Old Pulteney and tagged .
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