Review: Old Pulteney 25 Years Old

Review: Old Pulteney 25 Years Old

Old Pulteney, one of the most northerly distilleries on the Scottish mainland, is keeping true to its name with the recent release of a 25 year expression; yet another extra-aged release that follows on the heels of last year’s outstanding 35 year old. The whisky spent 22 years in ex-bourbon casks and the final three years ageing in ex-Oloroso sherry butts. With only 440 bottles making it stateside, this isn’t a whisky you can expect to find easily, but we were fortunate to receive a sample to review. Thoughts follow.

The nose on this whisky is one of the more complex I’ve encountered in a single malt. Notes of spice cabinet, stewed tropical fruit, raisin, and clove-studded orange emerge alongside fainter aromas of baking chocolate and toasted oak. Even at 25 years old, there’s a lot of vitality on the palate. It’s bright and oily with a gingery spice and a subtle brininess that keeps the bigger, sweeter elements in check. As for those, there’s a surprising amount of chocolate that evolves from milk to bittersweet dark. Add to that notes of cinnamon churro, blackberry jam, and clover honey. The finish is generous, rounding out the whole experience with sweet biscuit and candied ginger. It’s a complex and delicious dram that I can honestly say is hard to put down.

92 proof.


Old Pulteney 25 Years Old




Drew Beard is assistant editor for Drinkhacker and winner of several booze-related merit badges, including Certified Specialist in Spirits and Executive Bourbon Steward. A former federal employee turned hotelier and spirits journalist, he looks forward to his next midlife crisis.


  1. ChrisB on July 30, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks for this.
    Yikes! I know they’ve pulled the plug on the 21 yr but 4 years more age certainly brings a hefty jump in price. I guess it’s the small number of bottles available…..
    I wonder how it would match up with an older bottling of the 21 as I understand there was a marked change in style in the last few years.

    • Drew Beard on August 6, 2018 at 6:14 am

      You’re welcome!

      We don’t pretend to understand anyone’s pricing strategy, but the limited number of bottles surely played a part.

      As for the comparison, the 21 was a blend of single malts aged in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks with a bit more sherry character than the 17 year offering. With only three years spent in sherry, the 25 year is a bit of a different animal. I haven’t had the 21 or 17 in some time, but I’d say the 25 is probably more similar to the sherry restrained 17 year than the 21. While you get evidence of the sherry in the 25 (especially on the nose), this whisky really showcases Old Pulteney’s honeyed and lightly coastal distillery character.

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