About Us | Old Pulteney

About Us

 

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Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky is distilled here at Pulteney Distillery in Wick, on the shores of north-eastern Scotland.

We produce hand-crafted single malt whiskies and age them next to the sea, thereby giving them an unmistakable coastal character.
Our story is inseparable from the sea and the bountiful opportunities it brought – forever intertwined not only with our maritime climate but with the community, heritage and spirit of our coastal home of Wick.

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DISTILLING PROCESS

Water Source

Sourced from Loch Hempriggs, the water we use is particularly pure and soft – perfect as an aid to the mashing and fermentation process. It is carried via a lade, which was designed and constructed by Scottish engineer Thomas Telford in 1807. Our distillery came a little later in 1826, but we still use that same lade to flow the water right into Pulteney Distillery.

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Milling

Our 100-year-old Porteus mill processes five tonnes of local un-peated malt barley into grist every two and a half hours, getting through 160 tonnes in a 12-day cycle. Every tonne milled eventually produces the equivalent of 410 litres of alcohol spirit.

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Mashing

Our semi-lauter mash tun has a capacity of 15,700 litres and efficiently mixes the grist with water over four cycles. The temperature is increased each time (starting at 68.5°C) to extract the most soluble sugars possible.

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Fermentation

We have six stainless steel washbacks, and we fill each with 23,500 litres of soon-to-be spirit.  The mash is mixed with dried yeast at a constant temperature of 17°C. Fermentation takes place slowly – usually in around 60 hours.

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Distillation

Our two large copper stills – a wash still and a spirit still – our wash still has a uniquely shaped boiling ball which has inspired the iconic shape of the bottle you see today. Once distilled, we use a traditional method of conveying the spirit through a worm tub condenser which turns the spirit back into liquid and adds strength to the flavour.

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Maturation

We use American oak and Spanish oak casks on site in both traditional dunnage and racked warehouses where low temperature scales, high humidity and the surrounding sea air, shape the maturation, helping to give our whisky its unmistakable coastal character.

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OUR HISTORY

The distillery was founded in 1826 by James Henderson and was named after the newly developed Pulteneytown area of Wick. At the time it was one (and still is) of the most northerly on the Scottish mainland, and due to a lack of conventional roads, was only accessible by sea. The raw barley was brought in by boat and the whisky was then shipped out by distillery workers who were also herring fishermen.

1922

Prohibition

Throughout the 19th and early 20th century the herring fishing industry boomed, and Wick soon became Europe’s largest herring fishing port, attracting a huge influx of fishermen, gutters and packers looking for work. The small harbour town’s population almost quadrupled. After long shifts, the workers would frequent the many pubs and licenced bars of Wick, which unfortunately for the permanent residents, meant around-the-clock drunken and ‘uncouth’ behaviour spilling out into the streets. 

In 1920 under the terms of the Temperance (Scotland) Act of 1913, the residents cast their votes, and the port – as well as others in Scotland including Kilsyth, Kirkintilloch and Lerwick – became ‘dry’. Every pub in town was boarded up and in 1930 Pulteney Distillery was closed for business.

1947

Post War

The ban remained in force, even throughout the Second World War when many servicemen came through in need of a dram or two. Prohibition ended in 1947 and when the post-war demand for whisky increased, the site’s new owner, Robert ‘Bertie’ Cumming, decided to reopen Pulteney Distillery and production was eventually resumed in 1951.

The distillery underwent a major refurbishment in 1958 under new owner J&G Stodart Ltd, where the traditional floor maltings were decommissioned – the space is now occupied by our Visitor Centre.

1990

The 1990s

Through acquisitions and changes in company structures, the distillery ended up with Allied Domecq, who in 1995, sold it to its present owners – Inver House Distillers. In 1997, the now-iconic Old Pulteney 12 Years Old was released, beginning a new era for Old Pulteney.

Now

Old Pulteney Today

Today, the herring fishing industry has long since gone, but Pulteney Distillery remains steadfast.  

Our dedicated distillery team, led by Malcolm Waring, produce approximately 900,000 litres of single malt scotch whisky a year. Their dedication to their craft embodies the heritage, spirit and heart of Wick – every one of them proud to produce Old Pulteney, the Maritime Malt.

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COME AND VISIT
OUR DISTILLERY
AND LIVE OUR EXPERIENCES

We invite you to visit us for a tour of Pulteney Distillery at our coastal home of Wick on the north-eastern shores of Scotland. Our tours provide both a fascinating insight into the workings of Pulteney Distillery and an opportunity to taste our range of single malt whiskies.

Follow the journey of our single malt, from its water source at Loch Hempriggs to the glass, and learn how Wick’s exceptional marine climate influences the spirit and unmistakable coastal character of Old Pulteney.

EXPLORE OUR EXPERIENCES

Drag

The Spirit of Wick

THE PERFECT TOUR AS AN INTRODUCTION TO OLD PULTENEY 

Follow the journey of our single malt – learning the various processes from milling to maturation and how our coastal location and marine climate influences the character of our whisky. You’ll get the chance to try a dram of both Old Pulteney 12 Years Old and Huddart before receiving a complimentary Glencairn glass to take home.

Book an experience

From the Source

FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR AN IN-DEPTH EXPERIENCE

You’ll be led by our experienced guide, discovering the journey of our single malt from our water source to your glass. Next, you’ll be invited to the whisky tasting room, where you’ll explore our core range of single malt whiskies – from our famous 12 Years Old to the deeply warming 18 Years Old – and there’s an opportunity to try an exclusive dram selected by the distillery team. Finally, you’ll receive a beautiful rocks glass as a gift, so you can enjoy our distinctive single malt at home.

Book an experience

The Fleet Experience

THE ULTIMATE VIP EXPERIENCE

Our experienced guide will give you a full insight into the production process, following the journey of our single malt. At our warehouse, our experts will help you navigate through a whisky tasting adventure of our full collection of single malt whiskies, including our 25 Years Old and two exclusive hand bottlings. Finally, you’ll receive a complimentary crystal malt blender glass to take home.

Book an experience

The Spirit of Wick

THE PERFECT TOUR AS AN INTRODUCTION TO OLD PULTENEY 

Follow the journey of our single malt – learning the various processes from milling to maturation and how our coastal location and marine climate influences the character of our whisky. You’ll get the chance to try a dram of both Old Pulteney 12 Years Old and Huddart before receiving a complimentary Glencairn glass to take home.

Book an experience

From the Source

FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR AN IN-DEPTH EXPERIENCE

You’ll be led by our experienced guide, discovering the journey of our single malt from our water source to your glass. Next, you’ll be invited to the whisky tasting room, where you’ll explore our core range of single malt whiskies – from our famous 12 Years Old to the deeply warming 18 Years Old – and there’s an opportunity to try an exclusive dram selected by the distillery team. Finally, you’ll receive a beautiful rocks glass as a gift, so you can enjoy our distinctive single malt at home.

Book an experience

The Fleet Experience

THE ULTIMATE VIP EXPERIENCE

Our experienced guide will give you a full insight into the production process, following the journey of our single malt. At our warehouse, our experts will help you navigate through a whisky tasting adventure of our full collection of single malt whiskies, including our 25 Years Old and two exclusive hand bottlings. Finally, you’ll receive a complimentary crystal malt blender glass to take home.

Book an experience

SeaTrees

SeaTrees is a not-for-profit ocean initiative run by LA-based Sustainable Surf. Working with scientists and communities around the world, it supports the protection, restoration and regeneration of blue carbon ecosystems which include mangrove trees, kelp forests, coral reefs and seagrass meadows.

Here at Old Pulteney, based in the coastal town of Wick, the past, present and the taste of the whisky itself, is influenced by our intrinsic connection to the sea, which we are dedicated to protecting, and so have partnered with SeaTrees to help regenerate the health of the ocean and protect coastal ecosystems.

We believe that it is our collective responsibility to look after our natural environment, increase biodiversity, promote plant productivity and protect sea life.

To visit our website, you must be of an age at which the purchase and consumption of alcohol is permitted according to the legislation in your country of residence.

If there are no laws on this matter, then you must be at least 18 years old.

Accept Terms & Conditions Terms and Conditions

Alcohol abuse is dangerous to your health.
Drink Responsibly.