Google A new Linkwood extravaganza

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

August 8, 2023


A new Linkwood extravaganza

Long story short, Linkwood shared Clynelish /Brora's fate, with an old distillery, then a new one built next to it, while the old one was to be closed for good a few years later, in 1995.

Still house, Linkwood Distillery (ISG Ltd.)

There used to be quite some 'licensed official' or semi-official Linkwood for Italy and then the whole world (quite) in the 1970s and 1980s, mainly thanks to future former independent bottlers Gordon & MacPhail (I suppose you've heard the news) who used to push both Linkwood and Mortlach rather heavily while the owners were not. Today many other independent bottlers, small or larger, are having Linkwood, most rather excellent even if I have the impression that there's fewer true sherry monsters, a style that Linkwood used to excel at. Let's check one dozen Linkwood or two, starting with some youngsters, preferably some natural, un-finished ones for starters....




Linkwood 10 yo 2012/2022 (48%, LMDW Artist Collective, first fill bourbon, 1807 bottles) Three stars and a half
I'll say it again, the labels have been very lovely in this series from last year. Colour: white wine. Nose: grassy and oily style, with cherry leaves and banana skins plus paraffin and wax polish. Then cider apples and root vegetables, turnips… And finally, a lot of almond milk I would say. I don't think it's one those pretty fruity and floral Linkwoods of old. Mouth: more fresher and fruitier Speyside, with a lot of gooseberries, touches of maraschino, then more gritty citrus, around homemade limoncello and then rather a lot of genepy as many have in their hipflasks when skiing. Finish: pretty long, with leaves and some fresh rhubarb. A little rustic. The banana skins are back in the aftertaste and retro-olfaction, together with more rhubarb and lemon zests. Some kirschwasser too, more almonds… Comments: a rather green and grassy style of Linkwood. Good drop, for our hipflasks. Now, go skiing in August in the norther hemisphere…

SGP:361 - 84 points.


Linkwood 13 yo 2009/2022 (43%, Signatory Vintage, Monuments, for Kirsch Import, 1st fill sherry butt finish, cask #12) Four stars
Colour: gold. Nose: I'm rather finding fern and lavender here at first, a touch of shoe polish, ski wax (off you go), a tiny meaty side (teriyaki – perhaps the sherry) and then crushed hazelnuts, Nutella (oops) and a little menthol. Pack of Kools, as we used to say. Mouth: classic herbal orangey and peppery sherriness, amontillado, walnuts, some saltiness, pear bread, a little bitter green tea, then some kind of spicy and liquoricy honey, very lovely. Good marinade for duck. Finish: long, getting fatter, more resinous, let's say on black propolis. Goin' up! Comments: a little slow at first but a wonderful finisher. A story of hare and tortoise.
SGP:561 - 86 points.


Linkwood 14 yo 2008/2022 (48%, Skene Dhu, European oak sherry) Four stars
Colour: pale gold. Nose: same style as that of the Signatory, it is almost the same whisky, which can't be bad news. Same walnuts, polishes and amontilladoness, with this mint in the background. An old tin box full of dried mint leaves. Mouth: indeed, very similar whisky just a notch punchier, with more oomph. It cannot be a sister cask as the vintages are not the same, but when brought down to 43% vol., you can't distinguish them anymore. Finish: long, spicier, grassier. Green peppercorns, crude cacao, mole… Spicy marmalade in the aftertaste. Comments: very nice dry sherry from a good bodega or cooperage.

SGP:561 - 86 points.


Linkwood 'Madeira Finish' (44.5%, Murray McDavid, 2022) Four stars
Hold on, we do learn that the Madeira barrique used to stem from very large (largest?) producers 'Justino's Vineyard', but nothing about either the age, or the vintage.  Welcome to Scotch 3.0. Why even mention the distillery? Colour: straw. Nose: nah, it's fine, nutty, rather fat and oily, with some sunflower oil, bitter oranges, walnut wine, sweet mustard, panettone… Mouth: good mixture, appropriately mustardy and peppery, very Madeiran. It's true that we' learned from the first Glenmorangies that Madeira and malt can tango. Few sultanas, few orange zests, bits of candied angelica, a little salt… Finish: rather long, on similar flavours. Works well. Comments: I must admit that this is very good. A pity that I must subtract 5 points because there's no age and 5 points because there's no vintage (good one, S.)
SGP:551 - 85 points.

MMcD, while the floor is yours…


Linkwood 9 yo 2012/2022 (46%, Murray McDavid, Benchmark, oloroso sherry cask finish, 1503 bottles) one star and a half
Just a finishing, once more… Colour: gold. Nose: whiffs of gunpowder, truffle, gas and flints. And struck matches. Behind that, some walnuts as usual, chocolate cake, quite some straw and hay… Not quite an entrancing nose, for sure. Mouth: first okay (nutty, cakey) but it gets then bitter, sour, close to vase water. Sulphury. Finish: rather long, a little prickly and fizzy. Schweppes. Comments: long time I've not come across this kind of malt. I'm sorry but in my book it is clearly flawed. Wait, I see something written on the label… 'Art Of Maturation'… 'Benchmark'… The copywriters were on dry martini again, I suppose. Anyway, the no-vintage-no-age Madeira, anytime.

SGP:272 - 69 points.

B2B, please. Right, that's not business-to-business, it's back-to-bourbon…


Linkwood 2008/2022 (52.1%, Liquid Art, bourbon, 104 bottles) Four stars and a half
As a Frenchman and by definition, I like any labels on which there are frogs. Colour: white wine. Nose: the exact opposite, with a pristine profile, incredible chalk and plaster, granny smith, lemon, iodine, mercurochrome, lime, rhubarb, kiwi, red currant, cranberry, gooseberry… No more! With water: oh, the nicest porridge and muesli in the world. Mouth (neat): exceptionally pure fruitiness. Apples, mirabelles (big time), papayas, grapefruits… With water: grassier, greener, a notch bitterer but still extremely fine. Leaves and fruit peel. Finish: long, very tart now. Biting into some bitter orange, somewhere in Andalusia. Big mistake! Comments: drop of Zeus', liquid art indeed. Follow this example, quit any lousy finishings! (and to ourselves, buy more sherry WINE) I almost went even higher than…

SGP:661 - 89 points.


Linkwood 12 yo 2010/2022 (51.7%, The Collaboration, Bordeaux wine finish) Three stars and a half
Bordeaux? If they must… But right or left bank? Red or white (or rosé)? Merlot-driven or Cabernet? If white, sweet or dry? Hell, and which château? What's reassuring is that this is a Swiss bottling, while we all know the Swiss know their wine. Let's simply trust them… Colour: light gold with an apricotty hue. So, red wine. Nose: ticks the box. Praline tarte rather than cassis and geranium leaves, no excessive red berry jam, some proper doughy and caky notes, no high-peppers from French oak… Looks like we're safe, this far. With water: some bay leaves and some, well, Swiss cheese. A little fermentary. Mouth (neat): sweet, very peppery indeed. This is where it's getting a little difficult in my book, with quite some spicy barrique juice. Big clove, cinnamon, chilli, cracked pepper… With water: hold on, this time everything is falling in line. Zwetschke tarte and blood oranges. A little green pepper in the background. Finish: rather long, spicy and 'red'. As in red fruits. Comments: nose neat, drink with water. One of my favourites in this style that I don't like too much in general.
SGP:561 - 84 points.

While we're at it…


Linkwood 12 yo 2008/2021 (50.3%, Chapter 7, Monologue, Port Quarter Cask, cask #308314A, 120 bottles) Four stars
Some Port and some quarter cask. For research… Colour: gold. Nose: holy Suzy, this is weird, very un-Scotch, rather brandy de Jerez blended with Jaeger, but I kind of like it. A bag of pine needles, black earth, compost, overripe peaches (breast of Venus, no less), cedarwood, nectarines, cigars… watch it, it grows on you. With water: ale, artisan kriek beer, clafoutis, old Nuits-St-Georges… Mouth (neat): very good, I'm afraid. Between some very old brandy de Jerez indeed, some crazy gravy, a pipeful of moist black tobacco, and Mon Chéri. With water: even better. It swims extremely well. Finish: I was sure it would be a wreck. Well, the finish is not that great, probably a tad too leafy, dry and bitter. Comments: hate quarter casks, hate Port (in my whisky, love Port otherwise), rather love this wee Linkwood. I really need to see a therapist, preferably from the Lacanian school.

SGP:661 - 87 points.

Please a last one, but there might be another large flight coming right tomorrow…


Linkwood 13 yo 2008/2022 (57.4%, Whisky AGE, hogshead, cask # 305721, 271 bottles) Four stars and a half
Hurray, a proper hoggie from Taiwan! Which suggests that this would be rather distillate-driven, which was not the case at all with most wee Linkwoods we've tried today. The modern whisky world, wood first! Colour: white wine. Nose: the Liquid Art with even more oomph. Ultra-chalky zestiness, greens, lime, lemongrass, apple peel, green jujubes, sauvignon blanc… With water: muddier, chalkier, with some raw wool and some grapefruits about to start to consider rotting away. Right. Mouth (neat): how good is this? Superb limoncello, more chalk, grist, green apple liqueur, cherry stems, citrusy wax… What a classy distillate when you let it breathe! With water: gets fat as oil, always wonderfully tight, lemony, chalky. Bone-dry chenin blanc this time. Finish: long, wonderfully straight and vertical. More minerality in the aftertaste, leaves and stems too. Comments: an immaculate conception, says this old (and barely motivated albeit very modest) catholic taster. I think I forgot to mention peaches.
SGP:661 - 89 points.

Phew, I'm glad we did not stumble upon any fake peated Linkwood. You know, peat-finished unpeated ones and all that… See you tomorrow.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Linkwood we've tasted so far







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