Old Pulteney Duncansby Head Lighthouse

Old Pulteney Duncansby Lighthouse
Distillery/Brand: Old Pulteney | Region: Highland | ABV: 46% | Color: Sunlight
Nose: 22 | Taste: 22 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 21 | Rating: 87

This is the second installment of the latest Old Pulteney Travel Retail series to hit the Duty Free shelves after the WK editions. I’ve just finished writing a review for the Noss Head Lighthouse so I used up all my Old Pulteney preamble there. Basically all I want to say is the three expressions are named after Lighthouses.

I guess their marketing department needed a story so they simply looked out the window and, I’m guessing, saw three lighthouses.

I’m not saying it’s a bad idea. Maybe a bit lazy. Because what’s next? They’ve done boats. Now lighthouses. That leaves lifesavers. Right? Anyway, I’ll let the marketing department take care of that.

The Duncansby Head Lighthouse is second of the series and is matured in ex-Bourbon and ex-Spanish sherry casks. I’m going to hazard a guess that it’s basically the same spirit as the Noss Head Lighthouse (which has been matured exclusively in ex-Bourbon barrels) finished off in sherry casks. I could be wrong but there’s too many similarities between the two.

Though not mentioned I’m assuming the sherry is Oloroso (please correct me if I’m wrong!).

Here’s the official blurb about the Duncansby Head Lighthouse on the OP website:

Featuring a coral red label and tube, the eye catching packaging depicts an image of Duncansby Head lighthouse. Situated near to John O’Groats at the very northern tip of Scotland, the lighthouse protected a dangerous part of the Pentland Firth where the Atlantic waters flow into the North Sea.

Nose: Damp chocolate. Cake. Assorted nuts. Vanilla. Coconut (oil). Beans. Cabbage leaves. Dark dry raisins. Hint of peat? The nose smells familiar. I think it’s the ex-sherry treatment which I find across so many expressions. It’s not bad, mind you. Just get a sense of ‘been there, done that.’

Palate: Chocolate. Lemon and black pepper. Natural caramel on mixed fruit sweets. Coffee powder. It’s not bad. Just lacks the complexity that was needed to elevate it a bit.

Finish: Decently long. Cinnamon. Mocha.

Not a bad whisky by any standards. But not challenging enough.

Rating: 87


Old Pulteney Noss Head Lighthouse

Old Pulteney Noss Head
Distillery/Brand: Old Pulteney | ABV: 46% | Region: Highland | Color: Fino Sherry
Nose: 22 | Taste: 23 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 23 | Rating: 90

I think Old Pulteney puts out some very unique tasting malts. I really like the 21 year old (though not as much as some whisky gurus, mind you), the 17 is solid as is the 12.

Haven’t had the chance to taste the older bottlings but I did have sip or two from their last Travel Retail offering, the WK series, which were quite decent in my opinion.

If you know me you know I’m always wary of Travel Retail offerings. I think some not so stellar spirit is getting passed on under bright lights and fancy shelf work. Not always, mind you, but enough number of times to piss me off a bit.

But I can live with that. Such are the times today. And if amid the hog droppings I can occasionally score some gems from time to time I’m willing to accept that as a necessary evil. After all someone needs to pay the fancy marketers right?

So when Old Pulteney decided to launch their second range in this segment I was quite curious.

Decked up in bright colors the three expressions are packaged to attract attention. Each one commemorates OP’s maritime history by depicting a unique lighthouse situated close to the distillery.

This is the official blurb for the Noss Head Lighthouse expressions on the OP website:

Packaged with a vibrant blue label and tube, the design features an image of the Noss Head lighthouse which the whisky is inspired by. Built in 1849 by Robert Arnot and named after the Old Norse word ‘Snos’, the lighthouse represents the nose-shaped headland where it is situated.

So this one is is served up at 46% and matured exclusively in Bourbon barrels.

Nose: Very strong lemon. More lemon sherbet. Quite spicy. Herbaceous beans. There’s a bitterness mingled in with the floral. Fabric softener. The bourbon starts coming through finally. Vanilla. Coconut (oil). Beeswax. And that all too familiar OP salt.

Palate: Sugared candy in lime juice. White melon love hearts. Lychee sugar. Coconut oil. Mixed fruit candies. Cucumber. Very very unusual. I like it!

Finish: Fairly long. Those white melon love hearts again!

This is a very flavorful and delicate malt. Extremely sweet. And has a nice Lychee twist on the palate which I love.

Rating: 90

Old Pulteney 17


Old Pulteney



Pale Gold

A very soft and delicate nose with swirls of citrusy lemon and juicy pears. There is a whiff of something heathery too. The delivery is beautifully understated as it dances off your palate. At 46% ABV this is a man’s drink but with a feminine touch. Ripe juicy barley coated in vanilla make their way to the back of the throat where the spices come into play. Creamy texture with a dash of five spice.

After a second sip I felt the presence of cereal and biscuits made in butter. There’s something warm and cozy about this drink.

Rating : 93