Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Old Pulteney 12

For many Scotch enthusiasts, Old Pulteney is the quintessential maritime single malt. However, this seems to be one of those love it or hate it whiskys for the same reasons. One of the aspects that makes Old Pulteney a maritime Scotch is that it tastes a bit salty. I have a theory that people on the "hate it" side of the fence also do not like tequila. Old Pulteney does not taste like tequila, but I believe they share a few of the same characteristics.

Note: Old Pulteneys' website says that Old Pulteney is aged in 100% bourbon barrels, yet I pick up Sherry on the nose and finish. What does this mean? Nothing.

Nose: Sherry, honey, tequila, salt, ocean, apple, cereal, citrus

Palate: Salty, lemon, honey

Finish: Sherry, nutty, a bit drying

Overall: I think this is one of the best values in all of Scotch whisky. I found this bottle for $29. (It was $39 in the state I lived in previously) At this price, it can not be beaten. At any price it is a solid, complex, single malt. I highly recommend it to anyone who has never tried it, if you do not think that you would be turned off by a salty, ocean like Scotch.

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Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask

This is a new(er) release from Balvenie, developed specificaly for the US market. This, however, is not the first time Balvenie has experimented with rum casks. There was the 17 year old limited edition which was aged exclusively in rum casks, as well as another 14 year old which was only available in travel retail.

I like this whisky a lot, so do not misunderstand what I am about to say. This tastes exactly what it is: Balvenie 15 which was briefly finished in rum casks. The traditional honey/cereal character of the 15 is still very much present, but there is evidence of rum on the nose and finish, so a bit more fruit, spice, and brown sugar. I think this is a very good balance between the Balvenie and the rum, as I believe the rum would dominate the whisky if left for too long. I never had the opportunity to taste the limited edition 17, but this is the general consensus I get from speaking with people who have.

If you are a fan of the Balvenie 15, I recommend trying the Caribbean Cask for a change of pace and vice versa.

Click here to see my review of the Balvenie 15.

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