Close on the heels of the Diageo Special Releases (no, we don’t have any Port Ellen left) came the surprise announcement of the winners of this years awards in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. The big one that everyone always wants to know about is the top whisky – Jim’s Best Whisky in the World. This year’s winner came as a bit of a surprise at first – it wasn’t an Ardbeg it’s Old Pulteney 21 year old.
Now, that’s not meant as a slur against our friends up in Wick, far from it. We’ve been fans of theirs for a while, with one of my first tastings at TWE Vinopolis (in the dark days before I came to work here) being a trip through their whiskies led by distillery manager Malcolm Waring, and more recently having a great time wandering around Wick as part of my tour of the Inver House distilleries. However, they’re not a distillery who has been much in the limelight, something which is now bound to change -a change that I’m rather pleased about, as they certainly deserve it. Well done folks.
Anyways, within minutes of the announcement hitting the internet we (and pretty much everyone else) had sold out of the 21 year old and we are now waiting for more to come in – we’ll post an update here on the blog once we have more stock available.
In the meantime here’s mine & Tim’s tasting notes for the Old Pulteney 21, a 46% un-chillfiltered whisky made up of a combination of fino sherry and bourbon matured spirit:
Nose: Apple, butterscotch, Malted Milk biscuits, bananas and a little bit of lime. When I tried it with Joel of Caskstrength.net he both jumped around and talked about Shreddies. Slightly scarily.
Taste: A sweet start, moving on to marzipan and then sour fruit, green apple and cinnamon. There’s also vanilla, dry wood and some of the bananas from the nose, as well as some floury, pastry notes and some butter.
Finish: An interesting one with this, with coconut (shell and flesh), a whiff of menthol and a bit of gooseberry just before it fades.
Comment: Apple pie and breakfast cereal. A great whisky but not one that I’d have expected to pick up Jim Murray’s award. To be honest I prefer the maritime edge of the 12 year old…
Nose: Chocolate cake, developing strong mocha notes; dark gingerbread – all pointing to a heavier wood influence than the 12yo, and particularly the 17yo.
Palate: Medium-full. Milk chocolate; quite woody, initially, possibly even a little cardboardy. Pancakes and flapjacks, plus the uniquitous Pulteney saltiness. Becomes citrussy with water, but I felt it didn’t swim too well. Better at full strength.
Finish: Decent length, with the wood, mocha and brine still evident.
Comment: Very enjoyable, but the 17yo remains my favourite of the range.
Anyways, we should have copies of Jim’s book appearing on the website shortly [Update: it's in], but in the meantime there’s a complete list of the award winners behind the fold and a page of all the ones we have in stock on the website.
2012 World Whisky of the Year – Old Pulteney 21 Years old
Second Finest Whisky in the World – George T. Stagg
Third Finest World Whisky in the World – Parker’s Heritage Collection Wheated Mash Bill Bourbon Aged 10 Years
Scotch Whisky of the Year – Old Pulteney 21 Years Old
Single Malt of the Year (Multiple Casks) – Old Pulteney 21 Years Old
Single Malt of the Year (Single Cask) – Scott’s Selection Highland Park 1981
Best Scotch New Brand – Clan Gold Blended
Scotch Blend of the Year – Ballantine’s 17 Years Old
Scotch Grain of the Year – Clan Denny Cambus 47 Years Old
Scotch Vatted Malt of the Year – Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 Years Old
Single Malt Scotch
No Age Statement (Multiple Casks) – Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX
No Age Statement (Runner Up) – Laphroaig Quarter Cask
10 Years & Under (Multiple Casks) – Ardbeg 10 Years Old
10 Years & Under (Single Cask) – SMWS 126.2 Aged 10 Years (Hazelburn)
11-15 Years (Multiple Casks) – The Macallan Fine Oak 12 Years Old
11-15 Years (Single Cask) – Berry’s Own Selection Clynelish 1997
16-21 Years (Multiple Casks) – Old Pulteney 21 Years Old
16-21 Years (Single Cask) – The GlenDronach Single Cask 1992
22-27 Years (Multiple Casks) – Highland Park Aged 25 Years
22-27 Years (Single Cask) – Malts of Scotland Port Ellen 1983
28-34 Years (Multiple Casks) – Benromach Years Old 30
28-34 Years (Single Cask) – Scott’s Selection Highland Park 1981
35-40 Years (Multiple Casks) – Balvenie Aged 40 Years Batch 2
35-40 Years (Single Cask) – Peerless Glen Grant 40 Years Old
41 Years & Over (Multiple Casks) – Highland Park 50 Years Old
41 Years & Over (Single Cask) – Gordon and MacPhail Glenlivet 1954
No Age Statement (Standard) – Ballantine’s Finest
No Age Statement (Premium) – Royal Salute 62 Gun Salute
5-12 Years – Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 Years Old
13-18 Years – Ballantine’s 17 Years Old
19 – 25 Years – William Grant’s 25 Years Old
26 – 50 Years – The Last Drop 50 Years Old
Irish Whiskey of the Year – Powers John’s Lane Release Aged 12 Years
Irish Single Malt of the Year – Sainsbury’s Dún Léire Aged 8 Years
Irish Blend of the Year – Jameson Rarest 2007 Vintage Reserve
No Age Statement (Multiple Barrels) – George T. Stagg (143 proof)
No Age Statement (Single Barrel) – Four Roses Single Barrel
9 Years & Under – Virgin Bourbon 7 Years Old (101 Proof)
10-17 Years – Parker’s Heritage Collection Wheated Mash Bill Aged 10 Years (124.2 proof)
18 Years & Over (Single Barrel) – Elijah Craig 18 Years Old Single Barrel
18 Years & Over (Multiple Barrel) – Evan Williams 23 Year Old
Canadian Whisky of the Year – Crown Royal Special Reserve
Japanese Whisky of the Year – Hibiki Aged 21 Years
European Whisky of the Year (Multiple) – Mackmyra Moment “Urberg”
European Whisky of the Year (Single) – Penderyn Bourbon Matured Single Cask
Indian Whisky of the Year – Amrut Two Continents 2nd Edition
New World Whisky of the Year – Kavalan Solist Fino Single Cask
Quite a list, with some great whiskies on there. No doubt some of you will be finding Jim’s book in your stockings this Christmas (in which case apologies for leaking the list like this. Forget everything you’ve just read).
Our congratulations to Malcolm Waring and everyone else at Pulteney distillery. We look forward to this underrated malt receiving more of the recognition it deserves.