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.