Linkwood 1988-2013 (Gordon & MacPhail)

I first promised a review of this Linkwood a long time ago, I think. Here it is now. I took these notes right after returning from India in February but unaccountably forgot to take my usual ratty photograph of the sample bottle. And so I’ve posted alongside a picture of a bottle lifted from Whiskybase. Against my usual rules, I know, but there are no rules during a pandemic.

This was bottled by Gordon & MacPhail for the Soho Whisky Club. It was well-received right off the bat but got even more attention when Jim Murray randomly awarded it 97.5 points in the 2015 Whisky Bible. It nonetheless remained available for a while but was gone by the time I got to London in 2016. I’ve been curious about it for a while and so when the opportunity came to taste it via a bottle split I jumped at it. Here now are those notes.

Linkwood 1988-2013 (55.3%; Gordon & MacPhail for the Soho Whisky Club; from a bottle split)

Nose: Rich notes of toffee and butterscotch the moment I start pouring; citrus (lemon) begins to build underneath and there’s malt and a leafy note as well. No real development with time though except maybe some cream to go with the malt. With a few drops of water the leafy note goes away and it gets creamier.

Palate: Pretty much as promised by the nose, no more, no less. Very approachable at full strength and a nice texture. On the second sip the fruit gets sweeter and muskier (peach, a hint of apricot). With more time the oaky bite shows up earlier (not tannic though) and the lemon gets a bit waxier. Water pushes the oak back and emphasizes the fruit.

Finish: Medium-long. Some brown sugar builds here and theres’s some oaky bite as well. As on the palate with water.

Comments: This is very nice indeed. There are no flaws whatsoever, but by the same token there’s not much of the complexity you might hope for in a 24-25 year old whisky. Seems like it might have been an active cask; a little less oak and the fruit might have had more chance to shine. That said, water does push the oak back a fair bit.

Rating: 88 points.


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