Cask Tales

The Professor – Old Pulteney 30

Old Pulteney 30The Old Pulteney 12 is an excellent whisky; the 21 year old is exceptional; and this whisky, aged for 30 years, is simply sublime, offering a nose as complex and poised as any on our leaderboard. It has balance so complete that handles a dozen competing flavours with supreme ease. It’s a whisky that is better in my view, than the expression from the same distillery that won Whisky of the Year in 2012.

It’s not cheap, though, setting you back a good £275 for a bottle. That’s beyond the reach of a lot of keen whisky drinkers, which is a real shame; but if you were to save up, you could not get much better. The nose is simply extraordinary, and worth relaying in some detail: imagine the freshest barley interacting with the most quietly complex and sedate citrus, like a fine lemon oil whose youthful tang has been expertly purged. The barley is a delight for the nose in the purest sense, the oak a wonder to behold, and fruits so soft that it caresses, soothes and enlivens all at once.

Uniquely, certainly in the 19 months since Cask Tales’s inception, there’s a new flavour profile in the nose: blueberry, the softest it is possible to imagine. This trip through the forest is enlivened by strawberry and the cleanest apple. As one continues to nose (and this is a process that could happily continue for some time) it becomes intensely fruity before violets and lavender join the show. It might seem that the stage is crowded, but as a new component enters the accommodating theatre seems to expand accordingly. And everything sits, sedate, in almost divine fashion.

After the nose, which is amongst the most perfect I have encountered, there’s a certain trepidation when it comes to the tasting. I needn’t have worried: it’s as complex as it is gentle. Liquorice, aniseed, blueberry all arrive first, followed by the gentle citrus and the barley. Then, finally, a faint touch of the sea air arrives, which Pulteney is most famous for. It intensifies on the finish, filling one’s mouth with a dry salinity before it’s overtaken by a dominant blueberry note, somehow not jarring as it crosses over from one sensation to the other. It lasts a lifetime: all so grounded and understated, yet so complex and divine. It is a world-class whisky, and one that will be remembered for many years to come.

Nose 24 Taste 22 Finish 22 Balance 25

Overall 93

This entry was written by Raph and published on September 2, 2013 at 08.34. It’s filed under Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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