For those of you who might think that I’m an ornery crank who only likes whiskies that were distilled long ago by toothless, incomprehensible, ginger-haired Scots who manned coal-fired stills (sigh) and floor maltings (sigh) and hand cut peat while singing Auld Lang Syne, I have a status update for you.
In addition to the Green Spot (an old bottling of my favorite Irish whiskey), Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist, and the last 6oz of an early '90s bottling of Springbank 21 (scalloped edge label from when Preiss was in Whittier) that I brought on my recent and most excellent adventure in Alaska, I brought a bottle of Old Pulteney 17 that I purchased from Woodland Hills Wine Co at the end of 2011. I’ve long been a fan of good Pulteney and have been fond of OP 17 since the first batch was released some years ago. The bottle consumed on the riverbanks of the Kulik, Moraine, and Kamishak rivers on the Katmai peninsula last week was stunning. Best OP 17 that I’ve yet tasted and better than The Gnome’s (Jim Murray) 2011 Whisky of the Year, OP 21. I have license to call him The Gnome because I am similarly vertically challenged, though I don’t have a gnome-like haircut, unless you consider Verne Troyer to be a gnome even though he is a cartilage-hair hypoplastic dwarf, which I am not. Anyway, this recent release OP 17 is smoking good. And far more aromatically pleasing than the rotting carcasses of spawned-out Sockeye salmon that lined the riverbanks. It should be mentioned, however, that the fetid aroma of rotting carcasses of spawned-out Sockeye salmon was heavenly compared to the cloyingly disgusting aroma of the puketastrophic Ardbeg Galileo, but I digress… Cherry pipe tobacco nose with a whiff of smoke, followed by sweet malt, more pipe tobacco and OP salinity on the palate and lengthy finish. Lovely stuff. An extremely satisfying $70 bottle of whisky, abundantly available in the marketplace.