Last Friday, the 10th anniversary Viking Line Cinderella Whisky Fair set sail from Stockholm for three separate days of cruising (over to Mariehamn, capital of the Aland Islands) and plenty of exciting whisky to sample. This popular event draws enthusiasts from around the world and regularly offers both new and exclusive expressions from supporting distilleries. This year, Old Pulteney took the opportunity to unveil three new bottlings, including an event exclusive single cask from 2002.
Whilst The Dramble didn’t get over to Stockholm for this gathering, we did manage to secure a bottling of the 2017 Old Pulteney Whisky Fair exclusive – again distilled in 2002. We’ve had it around for a while, so what better time to get some tasting notes on the site whilst we try to secure the latest exclusive edition! The 2017 exclusive was drawn from a single ex-bourbon cask (#705), matured for 14 years and bottled at 55.8% ABV.
Nose: Cask and coastal character. Plenty of creamy vanilla, honey and malty biscuit aromas are expressed in a fresh vibrant nose. Green apples, grapefruit and a health twist of lemon juice are joined by some earthy minerality – think of a gravel-strewn beach, or a sea-licked rock pool. Of course, there’s that unmistakable OP salinity in the mix - offering sharpness and balancing well with the fruity elements and malty vanilla driven core. A few drops of water adds sweetness to the fruits making then almost syrupy. It also helps express the underlying earthiness with some drying hay notes.
Taste: A great translation from nose to mouth – with a powerful arrival. Apples come through immediately and are joined by ear drops and tart, tangy lemons and grapefruits – much juicier than the nose implies, these are supported by herbalness – green leaves and forest moss. More than a sprinkle of salt adds sharpness, but still fits within a very fresh profile. Water brings our more of the cask – touches of vanilla, ginger and particularly cracked black pepper.
Finish: Medium to long and packed full of citrus and salinity.
I’m always pleased to see Old Pulteney bottled like this – straight-forward ex-bourbon to my mind is highly suited to the distillery’s style and character. This 2002 bottling is a good example of non-nonsense ex-bourbon OP – fresh and zesty and with more than enough salinity to honour the maritime malt brand. A very appropriate serving for a whisky cruise indeed.