Old Pulteney is one of the world’s finest and most distinctive single malt Scotch whiskies. Known as ‘The Maritime Malt’, it is crafted in the windswept coastal town of Wick, home to the Pulteney Distillery which is one of the most northerly on the Scottish mainland.
Distillery Manager Malcolm Waring joined the Pulteney Distillery team in 1990. A hometown boy raised in Wick, he worked first as a boat-builder before starting on the first rung of the whisky ladder, working in all areas of the distillery to slowly learn the craft of making fine malt whisky, moving between the maturation warehouses to the mash room and on to the stills. His skill and enthusiasm saw him progress to brewing manager and later assistant distillery manager, before he moved on in 2000 to join Pulteney’s sister distillery Knockdhu in his first managerial position. Here he led production of anCnoc single malt Scotch whisky for six years, before returning to his home town and to Pulteney Distillery as manager in August 2006.
In his decade at the helm since then, Old Pulteney has grown in scale and stature in markets around the world. It has been globally acclaimed for its quality and craftsmanship, and as Malcolm and his team steadily built the range of Old Pulteney expressions, many of the whisky industry’s most prestigious accolades have come their way. Old Pulteney whiskies have won over 20 gold and silver medals in international competitions in recent year, in addition to holding two of whisky’s most prized titles. Old Pulteney 21 Year Old Single Malt holds the coveted title of ‘World Whisky of the Year’ for 2012 in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. And in 2016, Old Pulteney 1989 Vintage was crowned the ‘World’s Best Single Malt’ at Whisky Magazine’s prestigious World Whiskies Awards.
The distillery was established in 1826 in the heart of ‘Pulteneytown’, the town created to house fishermen during Wick’s famous herring boom which once drew a fleet of over 1000 boats and 7000 workers to this remote and rugged harbour. Old Pulteney is the embodiment of this place, its people and its remarkable history. Malcolm and his skilled team craft whisky using the most traditional and time-honoured techniques that most others have long abandoned. This includes the uniquely shaped Pulteney stills, which are reflected in the design of the Old Pulteney bottle on shelves today. Matured in hand-selected oak casks, the resulting whisky has been acclaimed for its excellence, its smooth drinking style and faint hint of the sea.
Malcolm’s role has been critical in Old Pulteney’s success to date. He has a personal hand in every aspect of its production – from selection of malted barley, to distilling, filling casks and maturing the whisky in Pulteney’s warehouses. His style has been to innovate and improve operations at the small Wick site, but always to respect Pulteney’s rich distilling history and traditions, to maintain the whisky’s famous character and maritime qualities.
Nearly three decades after walking through the distillery gates on Huddart Street in Wick for the first time, Malcolm Waring is still driven by the same simple principle – to make top single malt whisky, inseparably connected to its coastal location, rich maritime heritage and resilient people of the Caithness coast.