One Good Bottle: Old Pulteney 21 Year Old

Old Pulteney 21 Year Old is a particularly lovely expression in whisky of Scotland’s North Sea

By Betsy Andrews

Updated on January 14, 2021

In the early 1800s, at the estuary of Scotland's River Wick, Sir William Pulteney commissioned a new harbor, creating Europe's largest herring fishing port. The Pulteney Distillery was established here in 1826, with many fishermen making scotch on the side. The fishery withered out, but the North Sea's influence can still be found in this whisky. The distillery's single malts range from 12 to 40 years old, but Old Pulteney 21 Year Old ($135) is a particularly lovely expression. Aged in both bourbon and fino sherry barrels, its orchard-fruit aroma disguises a bracing seaside tang, sharpened by a relatively high 46 percent alcohol. I like to sip it neat, but a splash of mineral water or an ice cube enhances its sweetness, making it a gentle digestif after the holiday feast.

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