Linlithgow is the other name under which the malt from the (now defunct) St. Magdalene distillery in the Lowlands was bottled. I believe Linlithgow is the name of the village in which the distillery was located. As to whether there was some key to when one name or the other was used, I don’t know. At any rate, this bottle from Scott’s Selection says Linlithgow and St. Magdaelene (in parentheses) as you can see alongside. There is no information out there on this bottle (that I could find at any rate). After staring at it for a couple of years I decided to take a flyer on it and as luck would have it, a friend was willing to split it. As you will see, I did not rue this decision.
Linlithgow/St. Magdalene, 1982-2003 (55.4%; Scott’s Selection; from a bottle split with a friend)
Nose: Rich, polished wood and a dark, honeyed sweetness; some acidity too. With a little more time there’s some lime and also a greater maltiness and some pepper too. The lime expands with time and gets a little muskier and then a little zestier (there’s more of a bitter quality, that is). With a lot more time the lime gets brighter again and some light smoke emerges as well. A few drops of water bring out some tart apple and quite a bit of brine.
Palate: Leads with the lime: slightly acidic at first and then turning bitter (lime peel) and then maltier. Very nice mouthfeel. On the second sip there’s more sweetness to go with the bitterness that develops. With the third sip the minerally/stony thing from the finish begins showing up much earlier. I’m intrigued to see what water will do. Well, that stony note gets more pronounced as does the salt.
Finish: Long. The lime transitions to a minerally, stony quality and then comes back again. At the very end there’s a little lick of smoke/ash. With water the finish gets even longer and there’s a lot more salt now and a bit of pepper too.
Comments: I don’t know what I was expecting but this is not it. This is a million miles away from the Rare Malts 19, 1979 and somewhere between a contemporary bourbon cask Clynelish and a very mellow, older Caol Ila. That is to say, it’s very good. I’m very glad I took a flyer on it.
Rating: 88 points.