Whisky Review: Old Pulteney 12 Year Old

Dry January is over. The blog is back, after a hiatus of four and a half years.

So to celebrate, my brother Alex and I decided to taste two whiskies in one evening. Two very different whiskies. By the toss of an entirely non-existent coin, the Old Pulteney was the first out of the Monk’s Bench.

This bottle is the younger sister of my brother’s favourite, the 21 year old. So although we tried to be analytical and sensible about the reviews we did that night, we may not have been as successful as we’d hoped. Ahem.

Alex: Very nice colour, you could argue it flatters to deceive, almost.

Oliver: Very poetic! I know what you mean, it does look like a very light whisky, but it’s got loads of flavour.

Alex: But it deceives in that you see the colour, and you get the bottle and think “That’s going to be grade A, premium quality,” and then you drink it and its quite raw.

Generally from whiskies, I like the hit and the taste and sweetness of sherry, which this one definitely has. And it was only £30, I couldn’t believe it.

Oliver: Usually with whisky that pale, as you said you’d expect not a lot of flavour, but this has loads at the front of the mouth, but it’s not got a lot at the back either, so there’s no whisky face!

Alex: I first had this as a 21 year old, which was so good I had to work back down through the 17 to the 12.

Oliver: Well that’s why I stopped drinking whisky for a while and blogging about it. That 40 year old Bunnahabhain spoiled me for younger whiskies. They were just poor by comparison.

Alex: Yup, once you step up a ladder it’s hard to go down again. I was told that by a wine merchant when I first started buying wine, I thought damn, now I’ll always have to pay £20 for a bottle!

And with that our conversation turned to two future blogs and the cards on the table.

All told, though, the 12 year old Old Pulteney is a good whisky. Not as good as the 21, but you wouldn’t expect it to be. Its pale gold colour and light aroma is deceptive of the flavour. Strong, sweet, deep and focussed on the front of the mouth, making this (as we discovered) a very drinkable addition to the collection.

Old Pulteney 12

Old Pulteney 12 year old