Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch 12yr 750mL

Afternoon kids, yes once again this week we’ve reviewed a scotch. Why? Because we’re adults and real adults drink scotch. Sadly though even faux adults wouldn’t typically drink this scotch, and while it’s suffering from being compared to the recent pleasure of Johnnie Walker Double Black, make no mistake this isn’t something I’d recommend.


And here’s why – you see this scotch suffers from the same issue tight shirts on women and hockey suffers from, in that they’re just not as much fun until you turn the temperature down, and add some ice. Now at HBR we know that the Scots add an ice cube or some water because in single malts it really opens the whisky up allowing for more flavors and better taste, and doesn’t “water it down” as most of the idiotic internet would have you believe. This of course differs with blended whiskies as it can “de-complexify” them. Here though the ice barely manages to make the whisky enjoyable.

Now I’m going to keep this article short because sadly the company that produces this had decided to give me an essay to transcribe, and really that’s the heart of the issue we have with Old Pulteney. It’s got the perfect name, bottling, color, packaging, literature, even a small map to set it up as a standard really good single malt scotch. But while there’s certainly a scotch for everyone I doubt anyone has found this and decided it’s the scotch for them.

What they say: From Bottle: “The harbor town of Wick in the far north-east corner of Scotland is famed for its rugged, windswept history and as the home if the most northerly of all mainland distilleries,

Matured in fine oak casks, quality breathing in the fresh sea air, Old Pulteney is the very essence of this unique place. Intricate balanced and with a delicate mineral-salted spiciness, Old Pulteney is a distinctive and evocative spirit – truly the ‘Genuine Maritime Malt’.”

From Case Front: “A strange and beautiful sight to see the fleet put silently out against a rising moon, the sea-line rough as a wood with sails, and ever and again and one after another, a boat floating swiftly by the silver disk.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

From Case Back: “Established in 1826 in the town of Wick, Pulteney Distillery is the most northerly distiller on the mainland and at that time was only accessible by sea. The barley was brought in by sea, the whisky shipped out by boat, and many of the distiller workers were also employed as fisherman. Sadly the fishing industry is no longer part of the daily life in Wick but Pulteney Distiller continues to operate using the same traditional distilling methods first introduced in the 1800’s to create one of the finest Highland Malts available.

Pulteney is one of the most unique Scotch whisky distilleries. The wash still has no swan neck and it is though that when the original still was delivered, it was too tall for the stillhouse and the manager insisted it was ‘cut off’. The spirit still resembles a ‘smuggler’s kettle’ and both undoubtedly contribute to the distinctive character of the whisky. Once distilled, the spirit is filled into a selection of specially selected bourbon and sherry casks and laid to rest in the distillery warehouses, until the distillery manager decides the optimum time for bottling each of the casks. Throughout the years of maturation, the casks have taken time to absorb the Northern Scottish sea breeze and as a result, Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch is often referred to as ‘The Manazanilla of the North’.

‘Unashamedly excellent and deserves so much more recognition around the world’ ~ Jim Murray, Whisky Writer.

Appearance: Deep Amber, red golden (with a slight pink hue).

Aroma: Medium to high intensity and complexity. Dry with a hint of sea-air.

Tasting Notes: Dry, medium bodied and smooth with a clean finish: faintly salty with a slight sherry note.”

Editors Note: Jesus tl;dr – we mixed sand and seawater in this.


Taste: 5.2 – For a single malt it’s mostly average here.

Aftertaste: 2.9 – Not a great aftertaste, it feels odd. (Apparently they say it has Sherry and Salty flavors, which makes sense, but it’s not desirable)

Burn/Smooth: 3.625 – It’s not going down smooth at all really.

Aroma: 5.375 – Again it’s just average for a single malt, nothing to wow or anger you.

Honesty: 4.5 – They have some extensive literature and it’s fairly wanky, combine that with the general feeling of “that’ll do” and it doesn’t get much love. Also the bottle top was described as a butt plug.

Mixability: 6.81

On Rocks: 7.125 – Really opens up on the rocks, the general feeling was “oh here’s where the scotch was hiding.” It makes a big smoky aftertaste and overall is quite nice.

Rusty Nail: 6.5 – Not bad, but really you buy this scotch to have on ice.

Value: 3.375 – The only reason this gets this high is because it’s not bad on ice. Though it’s on the cheaper side of scotches there’s others out there much nicer than this.

Google Shop Average: $37

Website: http://www.oldpulteney.com/


Reviewer Scores:

William Henri Neve the IV: 3.5

Justice: 4.5

BuffaloJern: 5.0

Bro-Skater Bfey: 5.0

Want to compare this spirit against our archives? Visit our statistics page.

Metric Score: 31.79/70 |+| Metric Average: 4.54 |+| Reviewer Average: 4.5

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Final Thoughts:

In the end yes it’s good on ice, but considering the amount I had to just write I hate this single malt. I’ve made a practice to not buy a scotch I’ve had before. So when I tell you that I’m never trying let along buying this again it’s not for want of exploration, but because it’s one of the most disappointing single malts I’ve had.



I am the Buffalo editor and curator of Honest Booze Reviews

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