This Linkwood was also part of the larger Binny’s bottle split I coordinated a month and a half or so ago. I saved most of my share of the bottle for my local group’s March tasting and it went down a treat there. Here now are my own notes taken separately from a larger pour than we drink at our tastings.
Linkwood is another of Diageo’s workhorse distilleries: there are no regular official releases, and most of it goes into the group’s blends. While the indies have a put a fair number out I’ve had very few Linkwoods and have reviewed even less: only these two older ones distilled in the 1980s—and both of those were in my occasional “Quick Hits” series, which means this will be my first Linkwood review with a score. Fascinating, I know. Anyway, let’s get right to it.
Linkwood 16, 1998 (49.3%; Signatory for Binny’s; hogshead #5121; from a bottle split)
Nose: Rich malt with some toffee and brown sugar; some caramel apple in there too. Gets richer as it sits with some honey joining in as well. With more time there’s some tartness—still in the apple family with perhaps a bit of lime mixed in. Really gets quite fruity as it sits, with some muskier notes joining the party. Water doesn’t add anything, subtracts some oomph.
Palate: The fruit leads the way here, with the tart notes on top of the sweet and the malt anchoring it all below. On the second sip the malt seems more roasted and adds more of a counterpoint to the fruit. Lovely, satiny texture; very drinkable indeed. Gets more and more acidic as it sits and then a bit of a metallic note emerges. Sweeter with water (a sort of simple syrupy sweetness) and less fruity.
Finish: Medium. The tart fruit eases out and the lasting impression is of the roasted malt and some toasted oak. Water keeps the metallic thing going longer into the finish.
Comments: This is very nice stuff: a lovely nose and wonderful arrival on the palate. The only off-note is that slight metallic note that emerges late on the palate. My only other complaint is that the finish is not very interesting. A very good deal, I think, at the current discounted price ($69.99). And if you get a bottle, hold the water.
Rating: 87 points.
[Note: Though the picture at the top is of the last pour from the bottle these notes were actually taken at the halfway mark; the pictures I’d taken off the bottle then were just not very well suited to the size I use for these posts.]