Over the past few years, the whisky world has witnessed the release of remarkably unusual bottles, showcasing super-aged, ultra-premium Scotch whiskies that can be seen as works of art rather than mere decanters. The latest addition to this captivating trend is a 45-year-old single malt whisky from Old Pulteney, presented in a distinctive vessel reminiscent of a Faberge egg adorned with a windswept scarf, perched upon an asteroid. However, this exceptional creation is exclusively available through auction.
The esteemed whisky in question is named Bow Wave, marking it as the oldest single malt ever produced by the Highland distillery located on the northeastern coast of Scotland. Bow Wave spent over four decades maturing in American oak barrels before being transferred to a first-fill Spanish oak butt for an additional five years. Whisky expert Dave Broom, fortunate enough to sample this expression, eloquently describes its palate as "Refined, clearly mature, yet still fresh. There are hints of dried pineapple, a subtle wax polish, scented sandalwood, and myrrh with a touch of underlying austerity. Over time, oxidized nutty notes emerge, followed by leather oils reminiscent of varnish. The complexity and fascination of this whisky are undeniable."
A single bottle of Bow Wave exists, featuring a remarkable design by Brodie Nairn and Nichola Burns of Glasstorm. The hand-blown glass bottle emulates crashing waves surrounding a ship battling stormy seas. The upper section displays a deep blue hue, while a wispy silver band, crafted by Scottish silversmith Lucy Woodley, encircles the lower portion. The cork is discreetly hidden and can only be accessed using a specially designed key. Lastly, the bottle is presented on a Caithness slate base. Nairn shared his inspiration for the design, stating, "The distillery's rich history provided abundant inspiration, as did a beautifully shaped pebble Nicky and I stumbled upon while walking along the northern beaches. This single pebble and its graceful movement through the water reflected the bow of a boat breaking through the waves, ultimately influencing the captivating Cabachon shape at the heart of this sculpture."
If one desires to possess this remarkable piece of whisky art, they must participate in the Distillers' One of One auction, scheduled for October 25th at Hopetoun House near Edinburgh. Interested individuals can register on the auction's website. The proceeds from the auction will benefit The Distillers' Charity, and according to a representative from the brand, Sotheby's estimates that the whisky could potentially sell for as much as £30,000 (approximately $40,000).
About Old Pulteney
Old Pulteney is a renowned distillery based in Wick, a coastal town in the far north of Scotland. Established in 1826, it holds the distinction of being one of the northernmost distilleries on the Scottish mainland. The distillery's location, surrounded by rugged coastal landscapes and influenced by the maritime climate, contributes to the unique character of its whiskies.
Known as "The Maritime Malt," Old Pulteney whiskies are celebrated for their distinctive flavor profiles, often characterized by a briny, coastal influence. The whiskies capture the essence of their coastal heritage, reflecting the power of the sea and the spirit of seafaring communities.
Old Pulteney whiskies are crafted using traditional methods and quality ingredients. The distillery sources its water from the nearby Loch Hempriggs, known for its purity. Additionally, the use of copper pot stills in the distillation process contributes to the whisky's refined and smooth character.
Old Pulteney's core range of whiskies encompasses a captivating selection of expressions that showcase the distillery's maritime character and exceptional craftsmanship. At the heart of this range is the flagship Old Pulteney 12 Year Old, a delightful single malt offering a harmonious blend of fruity sweetness, malty richness, and coastal influences. The range also includes the Old Pulteney Huddart, which amplifies the maritime influence with smoky and briny notes, and the Old Pulteney 15 Year Old, a well-rounded whisky with a complexity that comes from maturation in both ex-bourbon and Spanish oak casks. Each whisky in Old Pulteney's core range offers a unique and memorable drinking experience, inviting enthusiasts to explore the flavors and coastal heritage of this esteemed Highland distillery.
One notable aspect of Old Pulteney whiskies is their aging process. The distillery offers a range of expressions, including both core releases and limited editions, with varying age statements. Older expressions, such as the 21 and 25-year-old bottlings, showcase the complexity and depth that come with extended maturation.
The flavor profiles of Old Pulteney whiskies often feature a combination of fruity, malty, and honeyed notes, complemented by a distinct brininess and hints of coastal elements. The whiskies often exhibit a balance between sweetness and salinity, making them a favorite among whisky enthusiasts seeking unique and characterful drams.
In recent years, Old Pulteney has gained significant recognition and numerous awards for its exceptional whiskies. The distillery's commitment to craftsmanship and maintaining its distinctive maritime character has solidified its reputation as a respected producer of Highland single malt whiskies.
Whether enjoyed by enthusiasts for its maritime influence, appreciated for its complex flavor profiles, or admired for its rich heritage, Old Pulteney continues to captivate whisky lovers with its exceptional expressions that embody the spirit of the sea and the rugged beauty of the Scottish coast.