In 1826, James Henderson founded Pulteney Distillery in Wick, a fishing village situated at the northern end of the Scottish Highlands. At the time, Wick was largely isolated from the remainder of the Scottish mainland, and the distillery was dependent on the sea for its supply of barley. The isolation also led to lawlessness "” legend has it that the 8,000 fishermen who inhabited the town drank approximately 500 gallons of whisky each day at one of Wick's 81 bars.
In an effort to quell the fisherman, local teetotalers voted to impose a ban on the sale of alcohol in Wick. As a result, Pulteney Distillery was forced to close its doors in 1930. For exactly 25 years, the town of Wick remained dry. Following the end of the World War II, however, Wick residents turned out in force and successfully repealed the ban on alcohol, allowing Pulteney Distillery to reopen its doors in 1951. Today, the distillery continues to make whisky in the same time-honored tradition that James Henderson began nearly 200 years ago.
After barley is milled by a 90 year-old Porteus mill, the grist is mashed and then fermented in one of the distillery's six fermentation tanks. Pulteney Distillery is just one of four distilleries in Scotland to use dried yeast rather than liquid yeast cultures during fermentation. The dried yeast, sourced from South Africa, is incredibly delicate and requires careful monitoring, leading to a longer fermentation process as compared to distilleries that use liquid yeast. Following fermentation, the wash is distilled twice: first through Pulteney's copper-pot wash still and then again through its copper-pot spirit still.
Both stills have an usually large bulb shape below their necks (the unique design of the stills is reflected in the shape of the Old Pulteney Whisky bottle), which gives Old Pulteney whisky its distinctive, oily character. The distillery's wash still, which was designed after the original wash still installed by Henderson, is missing its traditional swan neck. Rumor has it that the new still was too large for the room it was housed in, so the distillery manager at the time simply cut the neck off and repositioned the still's arm.
Old Pulteney Navigator Limited Edition Single Malt Scotch Whisky pays homage to the distillery's seafaring history and the adventurous sailors who inhabited Wick. The whisky is matured in a combination of casks that were previously used to mature bourbon and casks that were previously used to mature sherry. Following maturation, Malcolm Waring "” Pulteney's Distillery Manager "” hand-selects individual casks that he believes represent the best expressions of malt whisky. The casks are then married together and bottled behind a label with a unique compass illustration.
"Much time and care has gone into creating this new expression and we are confident that the dedication of our distillery team will ensure whisky enthusiasts enjoy the newest member of the Old Pulteney family," says Margaret Mary Clarke, the distillery's Brand Ambassador.
Pick up a limited edition single malt today!
92 (46% ABV)
Old Pulteney Distillery
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Golden honey color. Full-bodied flavor with touches of honey, chocolate, coffee and citrus. Long finish, with hints of salty tang, spices and caramel.