Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Old Pulteney 12 Year Old

One night, years ago, I visited a friend for dinner. I can’t remember what we had – most likely a bastardised bolognese (a cheap dish we could all cook). But having a bit of Dolmio and pasta wasn’t intended to be the highlight, because my friend was especially keen to move onto the dessert. This was because he wanted to try out a trick he’d read in a Jamie Oliver cookbook…
The trick was to have vanilla ice-cream, drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle a bit of salt on it. So we tried it out and it tasted… quite nice. The three flavours remained very separate, rather than combining to create a new one. And yet they worked together in a very unexpected way. The salt tempering the super sweet ice-cream but with the oil acting as a kind of balance between the two, making the combination of sugar and salt less jarring.
So by this point you probably won’t be surprised to hear that this somehow relates to Old Puleteney 12 Year Old. Well funnily enough it was drinking a glass of OP that reminded me of that taste. Salty, oily and with a hint of vanilla.
It doesn’t sound like it should work but it does, and it is such an unusual tasting single malt. It calls itself the Maritime Malt presumably because of that saltiness. It comes through in the smell too – a pervading saltiness but there’s something else there. After much thought the best I could come up with was driftwood. It has a combination of wood, beach and sea on the nose, quite bracing to take a good niff at. You’d probably hear the sea if you put you ear to the glass.
So that’s my impression of it. I suppose the only negative thing to say is that despite the unusual flavour it’s not the most complex whisky in the world, but it is smooth enough – possibly a touch too smooth. I’d be interested to try a cask strength OP to see what it’s like before they water it down…

What else to mention? The colour is lovely and golden. The bottle is very nice with a gorgeous bulbous neck and stocky lower half – it makes a great glugging sound the first time you pour it out.
The price – well this really is the thing. I bought a bottle on offer in ASDA for £21 (yes ASDA, sorry Royal Mile Whiskies) which is an absolute steal, a really very good drop for that kind of money. Now it seems to be around £27 mark which is still excellent value.
I can’t make a recommendation about this whisky in terms of "if you like x,y or z then try this". But I can wholeheartly recommend trying it out. It’s very well priced (even when not on offer) and adds something a bit different to a whisky collection.

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