The winner of World Whisky of the Year, announced last week, was Pulteney distillery in Wick, Caithness. This most northerly distillery on mainland Britain scored a record-equaling 97.5 points out of 100 for its 21-year-old Old Pulteney single malt. Despite single-malts often being perceived as superior and typically more expensive than their blended rivals, it is only the third time that a single malt has ever won Jim Murray’s top award, and Pulteney is just the second Scottish distillery to do so.
Mr Murray was not expecting the distillery to get near the top prize, but was pleasantly surprised when he made the trip up to the Highlands.
He said: “I was on the home straight after four months of continuous tasting. By that time I was pretty sure I knew what the winner was going to be. With what I still had to taste it needed something exceptional to knock the leader off its perch. But that’s exactly what happened. To be honest, I was amazed. I knew the Old Pulteney 17-year-old was likely to be exceptional, and it was. However, I had never come across a Pulteney 21-year-old like it. Talk about coming out of leftfield…
“I first went to Pulteney nearly 25 years ago and I have never known them to produce anything other than top rate malt. Owned by a relatively small company, without the financial muscle of the major whisky barons to market their malts on the global stage, I hope that this award helps Pulteney to become better known around the world; that is the whole point of my Whisky Bible, after all”.
And this prize winning whisky will empty your pockets of around $120. The second and third prizes went to US bourbons: George T. Stagg and Parker’s Heritage collection Wheated Mash Bill Bourbon.