Old Pulteney Whisky Distillery & Story
Old Pulteney whisky distillery is located in the Northern Highlands of Scotland. Situated in the fishing town centre of Wick. This was the most northerly mainland distillery until the Wolfburn Distillery at Thurso, opened in 2013.
The Old Pulteney (old-poolt-ni) distillery house style is a coastal maritime malt whisky.
How the Old Pulteney story began
The Old Pulteney Whisky Distillery was established in the town of Wick by James Henderson in 1826.
This was the most northerly distillery on mainland and at that time was only accessible by sea. The barley was brought in and the whisky shipped out by boat.
The distillery continues to operate using the same traditional distilling methods first introduced in the 1800’s to create one of the finest Highland Malts available.
In 1920 the distillery was sold to James Watson & Co Ltd of Dundee. Two years later the Wick town council banned alcohol licenses, making Wick a “dry town”. This lasted for over 25 years.
John Dewar’s & Sons Ltd subsequently acquired in 1923.
At some point in 1930 the distillery closed
The distillery reopened after R. Cumming, a lawyer from Banff, purchased it in 1951.
James & George Stodart Ltd as part of Hiram Walker purchased the distillery in 1955.
Over the next four years the distillery was entirely renovated. The floor maltings stopped in 1959.
During 1961 Allied Breweries buys James & George Stodart Ltd.
Allied Breweries changes its name to Allied Lyons in 1981.
During 1995 InverHouse Distillers acquires the distillery from Allied Domecq.
In 1997 InverHouse release Old Pulteney as a 12 Year Old Single Malt.
During 2001 Pacific Spirits purchase Inverhouse for $85 million.
International Beverage Holdings take over Pacific Spirits UK in 2006.
The Old Pulteney Whisky Distillery
Founded in 1826 by James Henderson.
Location; Highlands region. Northern district. Town of Wick.
Water source; The Loch of Hempriggs.
Old Pulteney Whisky Distillery Equipment;
Stainless steel semi lauter mash tun. With wood cladding and copper dome.
6 stainless steel washbacks. Fermentation times of (short) 50 hours and (long) 110 hours.
1 wash still called the “smugglers Kettle “ with a large boil ball plus 1 spirit still.
Stainless steel worm tub condensers.
The Spirit safe came from the long closed Glen Flagler distillery
Matured in American oak bourbon casks and ex-sherry butts in warehousing on site.
Pulteney is one of the most unique Scotch whisky distilleries. The wash still had no swan neck and it is thought that when the original still was delivered, it was too tall for the stillhouse and the manger insisted it was “cut off.”
The wash still resembles a “ smuggler like kettle “ and the unique shape of both stills undoubtedly contributes to the distinctive character of the whisky.
Once distilled, the spirit is filled in to a selection of specially selected bourbon and sherry casks and laid to rest in the distillery warehouse, until the manger decides the optimum time for bottling each of the casks.
Throughout the years of maturation, the casks have taken time to absorb the Northern Scottish sea breeze and as a result, Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky is often referred to as “The Manzanilla of the North.”
Our Old Pulteney whiskies
Take a tour of the Old Pulteney Whisky Distillery
The Old Pulteney Whisky Distillery visitors centre is well worth a visit and run two guided tours of the distillery during the day.
Pre booking is advisable.
A number of the tours include tasting sessions where you can sample some of the drams they have to offer.
Click here for more information on the Old Pulteney visitors centre