Wednesday, April 9, 2008

In the whisky cupboard ... Old Pulteney 1994 Sauternes wood finish 'Private Collection' from Gordon & Macphail

gordon and macphail - old pulteney - sauternes wood finishOld Pulteney is a distillery located in the far north east of the Highlands, near Wick. This whisky is in our collection thanks to a 'Wow' moment that we recently experienced at the Whisky Live show in London. We just had to buy a bottle after that. This particular version is released by Gordon & Macphail, who are an independent bottling firm based at Elgin in Speyside. Like all bottling firms, they release different ages or different cask finishes of whisky and this is an excellent example. It has been released as a 12 year old and has been finished in a Sauternes wine cask. Sauternes is a sweet dessert wine from just south of Bordeaux in France. This whisky is limited to only 2050 bottles and this offers a good opportunity to economically try a rarer whisky, as it is priced at just under £40.

The dark yellow colour is amazing as is the nose which is rich, sweet and intense, filled with the smell of dried fruit (raisins, apricots and pears). When you taste, it feels buttery, creamy and thick in your mouth with all the previously mentioned dried fruit, orange peel and some salty flavours hitting you palate. Saltiness is a common characteristic of Old Pulteney and whisky like this is sometimes referred to as having a 'maritime' feel. This occurs when the distillery is located close to the sea and the casks absorb some of the sea air during maturation. The finish is long, rich and fruity. The marriage of all of this gives an intense experience, which some may find too sweet, rich or overpowering. However, these are the exact reasons that we like it, as the influence of the sweet dessert wine cask gives a whisky unlike anything else that we have tasted to date.

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