It’s time for an Old Pulteney that has been on the Swedish market for only a year or two, and therefore still – according to me – can be considered a newbie – the Navigator!
General facts: This whisky has been matured in both ex-sherry and ex-bourbon casks, and since it is a NAS-whisky without a clearly stated age on the bottle it is a bit unclear how long the whisky has been matured in the different casks. This bottling is neither chill-filtered nor coloured. On the Swedish market (Systembolaget) a bottle costs about £54 and has the ordering number 89825.
Colour: Light golden
Nose: What a fresh nose! Layers of lemon and sour pineapple is mixed with spicy and sweet ginger-pickled pears. There isn’t really any oily feel to it in the smell, and the impression is quite light with some notes a bit heavier than others. After a while a soft oaky note appears, and finally some sweet, vanilla-like toasted bread. Kind of like french toast minus the eggs.
Taste: The flavour of the whisky is both more substantial and hearty than the nose first indicated. A lot of honey emerges and also a whole lot of spices like cardamom and black pepper. The fresh fruit from the nose is still there and the pineapple is hanging in there, but has now been accompanied by fresh figs and sweet apples, and the citrus notes has retired. Vanilla and oak from the nose are still recognisable but these taste notes are more low key now than before. With water a lovely taste of sweet milk chocolate comes forward, and the honey together with the pineapple becomes more evident.
Finish: This is a medium lengthed finish where a lot of the fruitiness from the note and taste still are palatable, but where I also find cocoa, some polished wood and a clear saltiness at the end.
This is a somewhat lighter, fresher Old Pulteney with less of the messy, rowdy oiliness and more of tropical fruits. The characteristic saltiness is still these – me like – and the whisky offers quite a lot of spring feelings, right now. Does the Navigator beat the classic twelve-year-old? Well, I do have a soft spot for that specific bottling and there’s no way denying it gives you a lot of qualitative whisky for the money. The Navigator is, however, a nice alternative, where the light sherry influence gives another dimension. If it’s worth the money? Absolutely, and if you’re curious I strongly advise you to try it as soon as you get the chance. Who knows, maybe you’ll get some spring feelings, you too?