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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

June 12, 2013


Nine Linkwood in a rough and ready way

Let's see how far we'll manage to go. Sadly, I haven't got any pre-war Linkwoods anymore, G&M's were superb! But with regards to the apéritif, I think I've got an idea...

Linkwood 15 yo (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, licensed bottling, +/-1985)

Linkwood 15 yo (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, licensed bottling, +/-1985) Two starsI love the old '100 proof' versions. This one might be lighter... Colour: gold. Nose: hold on, this is pretty impressive. Superb combination of yellow flowers such as dandelions, pollen, light honey, yellow plums and then more ripe plums, quince jelly and even bergamots - make that earl grey tea. Hints of coal smoke as well, very old skool. Lovely, lovely nose. Mouth: nah, what a shame. It's not that it's weak or even tea-ish, it's that it's got these notes of burnt cake and caramel that were often to be found in some whiskies at the time. Kind of blendish, with also a little too much paraffin, lavender and cardboard. Although I have to say it tends to improve, but the caramel remains too loud. Finish: quite short. Toasts and caramel. Geraniumy aftertaste. Comments: Indeed, what a nose! SGP:341 - 72 points.

Linkwood 2000/2012 'Summer Orchard' (46% Wemyss Malts, sherry butt, 762 bottles)

Linkwood 2000/2012 'Summer Orchard' (46% Wemyss Malts, sherry butt, 762 bottles) Three stars and a half Refill sherry according to the colour :-). Colour: very pale white wine. Nose: very new-maky but that's no problem since it's very nice new make. No wood, no vanilla, no spices and no herbs, it's all a large bag full of apples, cherries, rhubarb, gooseberries and, indeed, barley and fresh white bread. Yeah, yeah, baguettes... The name was well chosen! Mouth: how fresh and fruity! Many eaux-de-vie, barley water, orange blossom water, apple juice, marshmallows... This one's full of youth and that's an understatement. Finish: of course it's not the longest but it's so clean... Williams pears. Comments: drop vodka, buy this. Serious. SGP:731 - 84 points.

Linkwood 1991/2012 (46%, Jean Boyer, Best Casks of Scotland, first fill sherry)

Linkwood 1991/2012 (46%, Jean Boyer, Best Casks of Scotland, first fill sherry) Three stars and a half My compatriots from Jean Boyer already had some very nice Linkwoods in the past. This one did a great job at the MM Awards 2012. Colour: amber. Nose: Linkwood's floral tones (once it's mature ;-)) mingle very well with a light and fruity sherry and this is a good example. We have cigarette tobacco, dried figs, raisins, a little mint, even a little camphor, very ripe gooseberries and just a little chocolate. Works very well. Some hay as well. Mouth: it's a little kirschier, so to speak, with also a little more leather and cigar tobacco, but the dried figs and raisins remain underneath. A faint flintiness as well, as often in first fill sherry. Finish: medium length, with more spices, especially cloves and nutmeg. A rather smoky aftertaste - that came from the cask. Comments: another lovely one despite the wee touches of sulphur here and there. Loved the raisins. SGP:542 - 83 points. So sherry, you said?...

Linkwood 1993/2012 (52.8%, Gordon & MacPhail Reserve for Van Wees, cask #6817, 224 bottles)

Linkwood 1993/2012 (52.8%, Gordon & MacPhail Reserve for Van Wees, cask #6817, 224 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: amber. Nose: very, very, and I mean very same-ish despite the higher strength and the different vintage. Camel cigarettes, raisins, figs, maybe a little strawberry jam, eucalyptus... With water: lovely whiffs of a northern forest after an autumn rain. That's right, mushrooms but also more dried figs and quinces and dates and raisins. Mouth (neat): excellent! More different from the 1991 this time, this one's rather earthy and rooty, with more mint as well, some earthy tea old pu-erh style, and of course all the raisiny notes that are mandatory in this context. With water: yup. Maybe just a little too much wood/cardboard but I'm sure that would go away, should we have more time. I'm sorry... Finish: rather long, with a little more leather and rather less dried fruits. Black tea. Comments: I think G&M filled some great first fill sherry casks in the last two decades. No flints, no gunpowder. Yup, and no struck matches. SGP:551 - 88 points.

Linkwood 1989/2001 (46%, Caledonian Selection, cask #3194)

Linkwood 1989/2001 (46%, Caledonian Selection, cask #3194) one star and a half Not much news from Caledonian Selection/liquid Gold Enterprise these days... Colour: gold. Nose: very typical of the youngish Linkwoods that one could find at the indies' ten years ago or so, that is to say all on chocolate, light toffee, caramel, toasted brioche plus a little floral side. Meadow flowers. Add a few oranges and you get a nice-ish, rather undemanding profile. Nah, it's really nice. Mouth: ah yes, it's one of these flowery Linkwoods. Rosewater and cologne - or rather rose-flavoured Turkish delights - plus millionaire shortbread and something slightly soapy that rejoins the flowery/perfumy side. Also raisins and honey, oriental pastries... Right, that's the rosewater. Finish: pretty long but these perfumy notes tend to become tedious. Comments: some sides were quite great but all this perfume is too much. SGP:641 - 68 points. Let's have a go at another 1989...

Linkwood 1989/2004 (58%, NMWL Norway, hogshead, cask #1835, 50cl)

Linkwood 1989/2004 (58%, NMWL Norway, hogshead, cask #1835, 50cl) Three starsColour: straw. Nose: it does have these hints of roses and maybe dandelions, but the rest is all very typical, with some barley water, overripe apples, orange cake, corn syrup and fresh pastries such as Danishes and, well, croissants au beurre. Mais bien sûr! With water: hay, barley and croissants again. Nothing to write home about but it's still kind of pleasant. Mouth (neat): full, fresh, very sweet and very malty. It's powerful but it's downable if you only take two or three drops at a time. Vanilla and sponge cake plus hints of liquorice allsorts. No geraniums, no lavender, no violets. And no Chanel, Brad. With water: became really good, with more pears and even hints of bananas flambéed. Finish: pretty long, malty. Vanilla and butter pears, a little white pepper and cinnamon in the aftertaste. Comments: not a huge personality but it's so much better than the Caledonian! SGP:541 - 81 points.

Linkwood 1984/2011 'Eleanor Whisky' (49.2%, The Whiskyman)

Linkwood 1984/2011 'Eleanor Whisky' (49.2%, The Whiskyman) Four stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: this is obviously older and indeed it's more delicate, more complex, subtler... It's a good example of what age does to whisky. Time is simply irreplaceable, whatever some impulsive distillers are trying to make us believe these days. But back to this baby, it's wonderfully composed, with some light mead, some light honey (and honeydew), bags of dandelions (I often mention dandelions, they really reek of nectar), a little putty, mint liqueur, orange blossom, earth, fresh mushrooms, maybe a little rainwater... As I said, it's all quite subtle. Mouth: superb! Sure the oak's just a little too loud for my taste - just a little - but other than that, this is a perfect blend of honey, spearmint, Grand-Marnier and maybe even dried litchis. Finish: long, with more oranges this time, while the oak did not become any bigger, even in the aftertaste. Comments: we're bordering perfection. A very elegant Linkwood, just a tad feminine - not unlike Eleanor. Yes, of course that's a huge compliment. SGP:651 - 89 points. Hum, I liked this 1984, let's have another one...

Linkwood 28 yo 1984/2012 (48.5%, Whisky-Fässle, bourbon hogshead)

Linkwood 28 yo 1984/2012 (48.5%, Whisky-Fässle, bourbon hogshead) Four stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: right, I should stop tasting very similar whiskies together, because as is often the case, we're having a whisky that's so close to the previous one that it's extremely hard to find differences. Maybe added touches of pineapple, and maybe not. Maybe a little more vanilla as well, maybe not. Mouth: honestly, both whiskies are undistinguishable. Right, maybe this one's a notch earthier but we could down three litres of each and still quibble about nuances and variations. That wouldn't be maltoporn, that would be malturbation (you first read that here ;-)). Finish: ditto. Comments: a twin or a shared cask. We won't complain, it's great whisky. SGP:651 - 89 points. Time to tackle the 1970s...

Linkwood-Glenlivet 14 yo 1979/1993 (58.5%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection)

Linkwood-Glenlivet 14 yo 1979/1993 (58.5%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection) Five stars Yeah yeah, from an oak cask ;-). Many true monsters have been bottled in this 'small white label' series. Colour: mahogany. This screams first fill sherry. Nose: it's so powerful that it's hard to nose. Say kirsch straight from the still and wheelbarrows of flints. With water: calmer but not tamed. Wild unaged eaux-de-vie - yes eau-de-vie needs ageing - but also luscious dried fruits, cigar humidor, old balsamic vinegar, crème de menthe... Really restless and I'm sure bringing it down to 15% vol. wouldn't change much. Right, we won't try that... Mouth (neat): stunning! Sure it's 'in your face' but it's also ridden with old Demerara rum and dark chocolate from the best plantations (no, forget about the last part). So chocolate filled with rum so far... With water: oh, it does not swim too well I'm afraid, it got a little cardboardy and that wouldn't go away. But other than that, all these dried fruits are wonderful, and so are the notes of chicken stock and parsley. Finish: very long. Say more on oranges. Comments: one of these wild beasts indeed. Old style sherry, nothing beats that. I'll go for a shy score because of the way it stands water on the palate. SGP:662 - 90 points.
Good, I have older Linkwoods but I think it would be hard to 'climb' over the 1979. So, dismiss!

(and thank you, Ivar and Konstantin)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Linkwood I've tasted so far







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