Old Pulteney produces a range of single malt scotch whiskies, from the introductory 12 Year to the just-released 35 Year. And occasionally, the brand puts out limited edition offerings, like this bottle of Old Pulteney Navigator that hit the market in the fall of 2013 and recently crossed our desk. The Navigator embraces the brand’s “Maritime Malt” moniker from its name to its striking blue packaging, which features a compass and a clipper ship.
Old Pulteney Navigator was matured in a mix of used sherry and bourbon casks. The whisky carries no age statement, but everything points toward a youthful expression. In the glass, it pours light gold and the nose is full of cereal malts, crisp apples, citrus zest and vanilla custard. If you search for it, you’ll find some sherry undertones, like dark fruits and just a hint of chocolate. Take a sip, and there’s more cereal malt, plus orange peel, honey and an intriguing mix of buttery cake with ginger spice. It’s medium-bodied and warm on the palate, with discernible alcoholic heat. It drinks young and lively, with a spicy, dry finish that leaves your mouth lingering with fruit and a pleasant, lip smacking saltiness.
Old Pulteney Navigator is an interesting dram. It’s not shy with the grains, and at times the alcohol seems to slightly overwhelm things. The youthfulness is evident from start to finish, and while we’re not opposed to young whiskies, this one could benefit from more time in the barrel. The sherry notes, especially, seem a bit raw and unrealized. But while it’s not the most balanced of whiskies, it’s a flavorful one that manages to hits some high points. It’s certainly worth a look.
– 46% ABV
– $45 – $55
CE Rating: ★★★