The first time I had Linkwood it was chosen for me blind because my equally perverted partner thought it was funny to laugh about a certain Nintendo character getting a boner.
Yeah, I lucked out on meeting someone amazing. Try not to be jealous.
Since then I’ve had a few more, though it’s not the easiest whisky to dive into. The distillery is small: There were only two stills for a long time (it’s since had two more added in and additional washbacks, however, that was only in 2012). Original bottlings aren’t a thing: Instead, you get independent bottlings or the whisky is used in blends.
So when I was hunting around for groups of reviews, I noticed three rare “Hyuck!” mushroom headed drams sitting about, and decided it was time to review for reasons outside of dick jokes (vaguely outside).
So let’s see how they taste, shall we?
Linkwood 7 2008 Signatory Vintage Collection – Cask Strength is a young ridiculous strength (technical term) pick from Binny’s Beverage Depot, originally picked out by Signatory.
This is our first look: What does a young, ex-bourbon Linkwood taste like?
Cask type: Bourbon Barrel
Cask Number: 900010
Number of bottles: 224
Bottled for Binny’s Beverage Depot
Colour: 7.5Y 9/6
Nose: Daisies, cereal/honey, candied lime, soil
Floral. Very cereal/floral heavy, with strong candy portions. Water opens it up to some citrus, however, it also amps up the soil aspect.
So I’m saying it’s reminding me of that time I fell in my grandmother’s flower garden face first.
Taste: Honey, peanut, butterscotch, marzipan, dusty, pear
More honey, though it goes beyond that with some other sweet aspects. Some dust, some pear with water, and the nuttiness take over.
Still feels like a honey forward dram.
Finish: Honey, cardamon, butter, pecan, grass
Citrus, honey, vegetal/floral, and nuttiness. Very consistent, through strong flavours. Some fat is in there, this time coming out stronger and less mixed in.
Conclusion: Like if someone let bees make Scotch. This is floral and honey forward, though each note is locked behind such strong alcohol that you need to take time to piece it together. At the end, you get a consistent, if simpler than expected whisky.
I wanted a bit more, however let’s take a step back: This is a less-then-expensive, easy sipping whisky that does honey quite well with some nuttiness. To get the equivalent you’ll have to pay quite a bit more for a Balvenie OB that doesn’t have the alcohol content. So given that, I’d be fine with this as a daily sipper than takes to water well. If you’re a Lowland whisky fan it fits that bill.
Thanks to /u/RaunchyJowls for this dram
Linkwood 15 Gordon & MacPhail is the now discontinued original bottling but not original bottling. Let me explain: No, wait, there is too much: Let me sum up.
Linkwood doesn’t have original bottlings, however, has enough whisky to do so. Gordon & MacPhail offers to bring one out for them, so it’s an independent bottling that was consistent in flavour versus a single cask release that popped up every so often.
Make sense? Probably not, but let’s see how the liquid happy tastes and then we’ll be good. Peanut?
Price: € 70
Colour: 5Y 6/6
Nose: Pineapple, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla
Tropical, some sugar, some earth/butter, and vanilla. Yeah, that’s me writing out the notes again. I have literally nothing to add. Not even another Princess Bride quote.
So… uh, yeah. Sweet, a bit of complexity, hard to nose.
Taste: Guava, wood, honey
Somehow simpler, sweeter, and woodier. More wood at first adds to the complexity. Then it takes over and it’s the only thing.
Finish: Papaya, wood, maple syrup, butter
Here we go, now there’s more. The wood and sugar get along enough to give me a regular show up in Canadian whisky, the butter is there, it’s almost like an interesting tropical pancake.
Still pretty boring but in comparison, there’s actually something other than simple flavours and sugar in the raw, so I’ll take it.
Conclusion: A wood forward dram that’s saved from the simplicity and sugar-filled diabeetus by the finish, which is still pretty meh.
The idea here should be a solid one: Release a whisky people usually can’t get. It’s a good Scotch, so you should have the ability to put together a standard release. And then you get this vatting, which shows off some of the floral/wood notes with tropical, but only just barely. Don’t feel bad this was discontinued, it’s a letdown.
Linkwood 34 1984 Connoisseurs Choice – Cask Strength Gordon & MacPhail is the final one, and the idea here is I’m trying out what happens to the whisky after 34 years in… holy damn, a first-fill sherry cask?
Alright, that’s a tad insane. Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: € 659
Cask Type: First Fill Sherry Butt
Cask Number: Batch 18/064
Number of bottles: 481
Colour: 10YR 4/8
Nose: Pineapple sauce, sticky buns, red licorice, cream, green grapes
The literate around you will notice a pattern on these: Tropical notes, strong sugar. Here we’re seeing that continue, which is supremely impressive given that this was in a first-fill sherry cask.
Typically you’d see this be a sherry bomb with sherry notes and nothing else. Here the whisky is shining through: It’s still molasses heavy, it’s still spicy, and it’s still tropical. And wow is it pairing well with those notes. Sugar, light acidity, a good blend of spices, and a bit creamy even.
Taste: Strawberry pop, molasses, red grape, cinnamon crisps, hazelnut, anise-chocolate mousse
More sherry forward at first. A good amount of molasses still, bounces between a sherry-heavy dram and a well-developed whisky. Nuts are richer (insert your own joke), the spice is developed into chocolate and creaminess, a red-fruit note pops and is sprite-y…. This is really, really complex.
Finish: Grass/anise, mushroom, cheesecake, blueberry, cashew, chocolate bread/toast with cranberries in it
For all of you who’ve been waiting for the grassiness, fear not! It exists still! You’re welcome.
Where do I start? Earthy spice, cream acidity, fruit, chocolate, wood notes, fatty nuts (ha! I giggled there too), and more notes than I ever feel comfortable writing down. This keeps giving and giving and giving.
Conclusion: Very complex, layered, tasty dram. Having Linkwood before this, I expected something consistent and nice and good, but nothing at this level. I went into this thinking it’d be a sherry bomb that would sherry my sherry and then I’d have another spice fill reminder of Xmas treats. That’s all.
Instead, you get a layered whisky that shouldn’t have worked at all. First-fill cask for 34 years? I’ve searched over and over to see if that was a finish. I’m still not 100% it wasn’t. This really shouldn’t work, but here we are. Molasses, honey, creamy, earthy, complex, interesting, and even more adjectives that I’d need a thesaurus and probably a few more dinosaurs to write.
This is a whisky that everyone should enjoy. I can’t see someone not liking it. Even Sherry haters probably enjoy it (my wife didn’t mind it and she hates sherried whiskies). This is what we’re looking for.
Scotch reviews #1223-5, Speyside reviews #345-7, Whisky Network reviews #1872-4