SMWS 52.21 Tropical Breezes Fill the Sails

Posted 09 November 2017 / In Old Pulteney
The Dramble's tasting notes for SMWS 52.21 Tropical Breezes Fill the Sails
Bottle Name: 

52.21 Tropical Breezes Fill the Sails

ABV: 58.2%
Distillery: Old Pulteney
Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Region: Highlands

Old Pulteney makes a rare appearance with a bottling distilled on 18 June 2001. It spent 14 years in an ex-Bourbon barrel before being moved over to a 1st fill ex-wine hogshead for another year of maturation. One of 219 bottles. Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits flavour profile.

Nose: A interesting mix sugars, fruits and nuttiness. From the get go we’re into a fairly sweet start to proceedings with sugar syrup, tinned pears, toffee and caramel. This is supported by some pronounced nuttiness – slightly bitter and tannic – almost like seeds. There are indeed some matured wine aromas in here, and they’re quite sherry-like – sultanas and raisins in particular. Diluting slightly, we get bread pudding and toffee sauce.

Taste: Sweet, bitter, nutty, spiced – quite unusual. Star anise, cardamom, turmeric and saffron make for a heady mix of earthy spice flavours. They’ve joined by sweet wine flavours of chocolate, raisins and a light tobacco. Nuttiness continues with walnuts and hazelnuts and are joined by a slightly charred/roasted note. Water brings out fruitier flavours which favour red berries – it also heightens the tannins, making for a teeth licking experience. And there, finally, some of the salinity that I’d commonly associate with a dram from this Wick-based distillery.

Finish: Medium, quite drying and expressing a lot of earthy musky spice.

My relationship with Old Pulteney goes back nearly 20 years – it was one of my first whisky loves. You might expect a maritime, salt-licked experience as is typical with OP, but what you get here feels much more akin to a middle-eastern spice market. There’s tons of aromatic and pungent spice going on, which I can only presume comes in from the ex-wine finish. It doesn’t feel very Old Pulteney to me, but I found it highly unusual and pretty fascinating all the same.

Score: 84/100

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