Pulteney Distillery in Wick

Pulteney Distillery is the most northerly distillery in the mainland of Scotland and is located in an old fishing village called Wick. It was built by James Henderson in 1826 and the distillery remained with the Henderson family for almost a hundred years. The distillery was only accessible by sea and the barley was delivered in this way. The main consumers were the folks from the provincial towns of Scotland and the port of Wick was ideal for transporting the whisky.

The main water supply to the distillery is from the nearby Loch Hempriggs. Pulteney distillery has two stills, one wash still and one spirit still, which are quite unique in shape. There is no actual head and swan neck and they resemble a smuggler’s kettle. Legend has it that the stills were too long for the still house and the tops had to be cut off. The flavor of the whisky is attributed to this shape and the pervading influence of the salt sea air.

The distillery was sold to James Watson & Son of Dundee in 1920 who were subsequently taken over by John Dewar & Son. In 1925 the distillery was purchased by DCL but it ceased production in 1930 when the entire whisky industry faced difficult times. After the Second World War production of whisky at Pulteney was resumed in 1950. Robert Cumming who owned Balblair Distillery purchased Pulteney from DCL in 1951. Both distilleries however were sold to Hiram Walker and Sons in1955. Hiram Walker merged with Allied Vintners to become Allied Distillers in 1988. The two distilleries were subsequently sold to Inver House Distillers in 1995.

Pulteney is an old fashioned distillery and the traditional ways of operating are still used today. There are no computers or electronic gadgets and the production is supervised by experienced Stillmen and Mashmen. Traditional worm tubs are still used in the still house and they condense the spirit very slowly through 90 meters of copper pipe. It is collected through the highly polished brass spirit safe till the stillmen/mashmen put it in the finest oak casks. It is then matured in the warehouse for at least twelve years.

Old Pulteney 12 Year Old Single Malt, launched in 1997 is deeply colored whisky with a hint of sea air in its flavor. The 17 Year Old whisky is non-chill filtered and non-colored – whisky in its most natural form. The 21 Year Old whisky is also non-chill filtered and non-colored and has a complex flavor, quite unlike anything else produced at Pulteney. Old Pulteney Liqueur is a careful blend of their Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky with a selection of natural Highland ingredients to create a memorable malt whisky liqueur with an intriguing aroma and a rich fruity aftertaste.

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