Old Pulteney has unveiled Bow Wave, the oldest single malt released by the Highland distillery to date. The 45-year-old whisky will be available exclusively through the biennial Distillers’ One of One auction, and comes in a one-of-a-kind bottling.
Old Pulteney Bow Wave matured for more than four decades within hand-selected American oak casks before being finished for a further five years inside a single first-fill Spanish oak butt. A deep golden in color, the Scotch offers maritime flavors imparted from the northern sea air that laps the distillery on the Caithness Coast in the Scottish Highlands.
The whiskey finds subtle aromas of sea spray intertwining with the sweetness of honey, while delicate notes of aged oak and briny maritime flavors tantalize the palate. The long finish brings even more maritime notes.
“Glowing amber. Refined, clearly mature, yet still fresh,” says whisky expert and writer Dave Broom. “There’s hints of dried pineapple, a slight wax polish, then scented sandalwood and myrrh with a hint of austerity behind. In time, there’s oxidized nutty notes, then leather oils which stray towards varnish. Complex and fascinating.
“The palate is quite a contrast. It starts with a silky, almost slippery, highly-concentrated sweetness, then an incredible burst of bright fruits like captured sunlight. The tongue-clinging quality shifts in the middle of the tongue as some of the famed minerality comes in, working in tandem with touches of drier wood. Then it seems to exhale and the softness returns. Now the full complexity is revealed, supple tannins, mature oxidized fruits, rosehip, and stewed rhubarb.
“There’s a tiny bitter touch on the end before the dried pineapple returns, this time beside preserved lemon. It’s not finished though, as after you’ve swallowed an almost pillowy softness returns.
The expression comes encased within a remarkable bottle. Presented upon a bed of Caithness slate, the bottle is crafted from hand-blown glass with complex Inciso cuts mirroring the essence of crashing waves. The deep blue hue of the bottle encapsulates the sea’s endless depths, while glimpses of the golden liquid shine through like reflections of a morning sunrise. Surrounding the glass, Scottish silverware fashioned by local silversmith Lucy Woodley encircles the finished vessel. The hidden cork, accessed only by a bespoke anchor key created by Glasstorm, beckons the senses, evoking the timeless rhythm of crashing waves.
Brodie Nairn and Nichola Burns, Glass Artist and Designers at Glasstorm, the designers behind the bottle, said: “This whisky is the jewel in Old Pulteney’s collection, and we wanted this piece to celebrate not only their oldest ever whisky, but the character and personality of the Maritime Malt itself. Coupled with our personal fondness of the Caithness Coast, we were dedicated to deliver the best craftsmanship and create a work of art worthy of the liquid gold inside.
“The distillery’s rich history provided so much inspiration, but also something as simple as a beautifully shaped pebble Nicky and I found while walking along the northern beaches. This one pebble, and its motion through the water, mirrored the bow of a boat breaking the waves, which ultimately influenced the Cabachon shape at the heart of the sculpture.
“We’re incredibly proud of the final result. With further influences from the rugged sea cliffs to the ever-changing nature of the sea, each aspect of this ensemble is unique, but when you bring them together, you have something truly magical.”
Malcolm Waring, Distillery Manager at Old Pulteney, added: “I couldn’t be more thrilled to finally announce Old Pulteney Bow Wave, created especially for the One of One auction later this year.
“After maturing for more than four decades, this one-of-a-kind single malt, as the oldest in our history, is testament to the enduring spirit, patience and pride of Old Pulteney’s award-winning distillery.”
The Distillers’ One of One auction will be hosted at Hopetoun House on October 25th, 2023, with proceeds donated to The Distillers’ Charity. To register interest in this auction, visit the Distillers’ One of One website.
In September, Old Pulteney introduced a new whisky collection, The Coastal Series. The new range features four limited edition expressions.