Friday, 16 August 2013

Old Pulteney Tweet Tasting

An August Tweet Tasting with Alembic Tweets for the launch of the Old Pulteney 'Lighthouse Series'. These three new whiskies have been developed for the Travel Retail and will be available exclusively from airport duty free stores and other travel retail outlets from August 2013. 

The three new expressions showcase the Old Pulteney coastal style from three different maturation angles, and are presented in bold packaging (you won't miss these amongst the other whiskies on the shelves!) and highlight Pulteney Distillery's maritime heritage by celebrating prominent local lighthouses – Noss Head, Duncansby Head and Pentland Skerries.
Only Dave on this tweet tasting as Kat was busy with other things although she did pop by just before the start to pick up some ingredients from the kitchen, but didn't stop for a snifter. The tweet tasters were all ready to rock'n'roll at precisely 2000 BST, the designated 'kick-off' time, but our host was nowhere to be seen. With @OldPulteneyMalt new to Twitter sitting on the sidelines, we decided to take matters into our own hands and start the tasting on our own.

Eventually our host Lukasz Dynowiak of @alembic_tweets turned up around the time we were just moving onto our final dram, but he had a very important reason for missing the start, and was quickly forgiven! (Family always comes first,  he  had been held up in A&E with his young son, but fortunately all was well at home) The Tweet Tasters knew the drill and kept everything in line for him to step into comfortably and take over the final session.

Whisky Discovery #495

Old Pulteney Noss Head NAS (46% abv)
Highland Single Malt
circa £40.00 100 cl
Noss Head
We started with the entry level dram which features the distinctive Noss Head lighthouse that is located just four miles north of the distillery. The Lighthouse was built in 1849 by Robert Arnot, and the name comes the Old Norse word ‘Snos’, a nose, relating to the nose-shaped headland where it is situated. 

Noss Head has been matured wholly in ex-bourbon American oak casks. It's bottled at 46% abv with no age statement, non chill-filtered and naturally coloured.

So What Did I Think?

Nose: Light fresh nose, certainly has a citrus edge alongside some coconut - not fresh coconut, but that sweet dried desiccated coconut. Vanilla as one would expect follows, then Barley Sugar along with some malty notes and spices 

Palate: Much richer on the palate than the nose suggested. The citrus note is there but darker, like a caramelised orange (if there is such a thing). Very sweet with only a gentle pepper spice. Barley sugars found on the nose more prominent 

Finish: Quite a long finish to this, malty and sweet with gentle pepper spices with a slight hint of saltiness I was expecting ro find in the maritime highlander.

Verdict: Light and refreshing and would be great on a warm summers afternoon.

What did the others think?
@mynameisgone: The nose is fresh, cereal, with a touch of sweetness, also a citrus edge
@ansgarspeller: Vanilla, fruit, lemon, raisin, sweet, bit rose wine? and funny enough some 7-up on the nose?
@dvdbloke: Nose - lemon sherbert, peel, underage orange, coconut, light honey.
@RLemkin: On the palate I think it's lovely, sweet, fruity with a bitter orange bite to it
@LaCaveDeCobalt: The palate on this is quite spirity. Like a young plum alcohol. It's salty, peppery with a light bitterness on the finish.
@steveprentice: Very easy drinking at the slightly higher than often found ABV. Reasonably thick oily mouthfeel which if held on the tongue for a little bit turns reasonably spicy. Nice sweet and malty, much more likeable than I was expecting.
@whiskyrepublic: A quality dram for easy drinking or for those who may be wary of some of the harder hitting sherry/peat bombs out there

Whisky Discovery #496

Old Pulteney Duncansby Head NAS (46% abv)
Highland Single Malt
circa £45.00 100 cl
Duncansby Head
The Duncansby Head lighthouse lies 18 miles north of the Pulteney Distillery and is situated near John O’Groats at the very northern tip of Scotland. The lighthouse protects a dangerous part of the Pentland Firth where the Atlantic waters meet the North Sea. Built just after WW1 it is now equipped with a low-power self operating racon and has been fully automated since 1997. 

Duncansby Head is made in the classic Old Pulteney style matured in a combination of ex-bourbon casks and Spanish ex-sherry casks  Again this has been bottled at 46% ABV, non chill-filtered and naturally coloured

So What Did I Think?

Nose: Slightly richer on the nose that Noss Head, the sherry casks showing their presence, with a very nice balance of bourbon/sherry casks.  With a little air I started to get a strong hint of chocolate alongside sultanas which was followed by some lovely butterscotch flavours. It certainly took some time, but the nose was gently evolving across the senses and finishing with some white pepper.

Palate: Initially very sweet, a stronger more rounded spiciness builds but settles quickly. That slightly burned orange note that I found in Noss Head made an appearance but again it felt richer and more rounded. The butterscotch comes through to the palate after the peppery build up fades.

Finish: Another long finish, must be down to the higher abv. Quite fruity and feels very refreshing at first before turning quite dry.

Verdict: I like the introduction of some sherry cask matured malt to the mix, it give it more body.

What did the others think?
@steveprentice: That unmistakable distillery character of maritime salt, but tempered with hints of autumn fruits intertwined amongst the malty summeryness. Spiced stewed red apples with a drop of caramel. Leave this one to air for a bit
@dsappl: very pleasant stuff in the nose. Honey, apricot, maybe a touch of prune. Much less burn than Noss
@fr1day: Nose: Very appealing! Red fruits - plums & prunes with subtle nuts - pecan maybe
@mattveira: Sweeter, more rounded and fruitier this one. Vanilla & honey with a hint of wood again. More maritime salt too!
@sjoerd972: Feels young again but less so than Noss. Sherry casks give it some more depth, nuttiness (walnut and hazelnut). warmer, gentler.
@MCRWhiskyClub: Interesting palate - cookie dough, the chocolate from the nose, danish smoked salt and green fig
 @HMcnee: Spice, thick, coats the tongue and the taste is there for longer than noss head then becomes very dry

Whisky Discovery #497

Old Pulteney Pentland Skerries NAS (46% abv)
Highland Single Malt
circa £55.00 100 cl
Pentland Skerries

The most premium of the three new releases, Old Pulteney Pentland Skerries celebrates two
lighthouse towers of the same name located at the eastern entrance to the Pentland Firth. Located 18.5 miles from Pulteney Distillery (as crow flies) Pentland Skerries was developed with input from renowned Scottish engineer Robert Stevenson. Built in 1794 on the uninhabited Muckle Skerry island off the far north eastern coast, en route to Orkney. Two towers, 80ft and 60ft high, standing 60ft apart, guard the eastern entrance to the Pentland Firth.

The whisky was matured wholly in Spanish ex-sherry butts. Similarly to the other two, it's bottled at 46% ABV, non chill-filtered, and naturally coloured

So What Did I Think?

I knew I was going to love this the moment I twisted the cap off and poured it into my nosing glass. I've been trying to drink more sherry this year in order to better understand the differences and the effect that these sherry casks have on the whisky that has been matured in them, and because it's damn good - make time for sherry!

Nose: The nose on this is very inviting (to me!) I could pick out Oloroso and the sweetness of Pedro Ximenez. It comes across as sweet and sticky with all the rich sherried fruits you'd expect; sultanas and raisins, dates and figs and that 'signature' caramelised orange note as well. There is a molasses sweetness to it too, dark and slightly musty like well seasoned hardwood on the brink of no return

Palate: Very rich but it wasn't as sweet as the first two. Sherried fruits from the nose all pushing for positioning on the palate with richer chocolate notes than the previous Duncansby Head. Spice are more complex with cinnamon and liqorice.

Finish: Rich and long, starting sweet before drying tannins take over, the licorice remaining to the bitter end.

Verdict: This was my favourite of the three and will certainly be looking out for this one when I'm next passing through an airport.

What did the others think?
@fr1dayNose: glorious toffee! With a hint of mint? And milk chocolate.
@dvdbloke: Nose - still young. toffee. some light spicy fruitcake thing going on. Chocolate floating in the background.
@MCRWhiskyClub: Very powerful dry sherry character yet somehow retains that salty profile
@mynameisgone: Nose, slightly savoury, briney, dried fruits, candied orange
@ansgarspeller: The taste is sweet, raisin, chocolate, fruity, honey, mint, fresh, lemon twist and pepper... and so much more
@whiskyrepublic: Seductive sherry notes mingling with hints of the coast. A Muckle Skerry mussel sherry dram.
@dvdbloke: palate skerries -  thick, sweet, toffee malt. Rum and raisin. Dusting of cocoa. Fruitcake filled. Profiteroles.
@RLemkin:  Palate is even better. Sweet raisins, toffee and a much more mellow orange compared to the Noss Head.

And finally....

Pentland Skerries seemed to win the vote from the Tweet Tasters this evening and then the panel was split between the two for second place. I favoured Duncansby Head over Noss Head, but could see that the bourbon cask matured Noss Head would be very refreshing on a warm summer afternoon

As per previous Tweet Tastings there was a great deal of tweeting going on and to see what happened search on the #OldPulteney hashtag on twitter for the full story.

Yet another great experience, with three new discoveries A massive THANK YOU to Lukasz Dynowiak of @alembic_tweets to all the team at @OldPulteneyMalt and of course the tweet tasters.

Your tweet tasters were:
@mynameisgone @ansgarspeller @RLemkin @whiskyrepublic @WhiskyDiscovery @LaCaveDeCobalt @HMcnee @janmccurdy @dvdbloke @MCRWhiskyClub @fr1day @mattveira @bumpythechemist @dsappl @sjoerd972 @steveprentice @thomas_speller @timstasting @wimvlonkhuijsen

Make sure you're following these whisky peeps on Twitter!

So will you be picking up one of these new releases next time your travelling? Would love to hear what you think of them. 

Slàinte! Dave

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