Tonight I’m sipping Old Pulteney [PULT’nee] 12 year old from the northern-most distillery on mainland Scotland. According to the distillery web site, OP 12 is matured “wholly in air dried, hand selected ex-bourbon casks”. The web site says 40% ABV, but my bottle says 43%. A recent change? A difference between the 700ml and 750ml bottlings? I don’t know, but please leave a comment if you know what’s going on with that. Local cost in AZ ranges from $33-$40/750ml.
On the nose and palate, OP 12 reminds me more of North American whiskey than any other scotch I’ve tasted. It doesn’t have some of the qualities unique to a whiskey with distilled corn, but it does share a similar honey sweetness. There’s also a spiciness that reminds me of a rye contribution. On the whole, I’d say the similarity is closer to Canadian whisky (Crown Royal) than bourbon. Not quite as sweet, and with an added saltiness. I also get a pleasant pepper sensation on the finish, while it goes down very smoothly with no burn.
There’s a lot going on here for an “entry level” product, and this would make a good regular dram at the right price. To me, that price is closer to $30 than $40. I won’t have any problem moving through this bottle, and I’ll certainly consider buying another in the future.
Update: Being relatively new to whisky, and having a current bias towards peaty malts, I recommend checking out these links to other people’s takes on this scotch:
- Whiskey Magazine – Notes and ratings by Michael Jackson and Jim Murray, as well as links to related threads in the WM forums.
- Blog (Darin Bradley) – This guy LOVES OP12 and rates it 5 of 5. His journal entry makes for an interesting read.
- YouTube (Peatluvr) – I really enjoy this guy’s video reviews, and have subscribed to his YouTube video feed.