Let’s stay in the Speyside for the second of this week’s reviews of bourbon cask whiskies. Like Dailuaine (Monday’s port of call), Linkwood is a workhorse distillery that doesn’t see much official release. Independents do decently by it though. The bottler of the 19 yo I am reviewing today is Alexander Murray. I have little experience of their releases and know even less about them. I did like a Glenlossie 19, 1997 they put out, also from bourbon casks, and hope that’s a good portent for this one. They were, however, also the source of a rather anonymous 23 yo unnamed Speyside malt for Costco’s Kirkland label. Let’s see where this one falls.
Linkwood 19, 1997 (53.8%; Alexander Murray; bourbon casks; from a bottle split)
Nose: Bright fruit (tart-sweet apple, a bit of lemon) mixed in with some oak and some malt. More lemon on the second sniff and some over-ripe pear to go with the apple. Softer notes of cream and light toffee emerge with time. A few drops of water and it gets muskier/maltier with a slight leafy note popping out as well.
Palate: Comes in generally as indicated by the nose, but with the (toasted) oak in the lead and the fruit unfurling fully as I swallow (and it’s sweeter than on the nose). A good bite at 53.8% and rich texture. On the second and third sips the fruit come out to join the oak and more malt emerges to join them. A light grassy note pops out with time but it goes well with everything else. Water melds everything nicely and emphasizes musky malt here as well.
Finish: Long. The fruit expands here, getting muskier as it goes. With time the citrus expands here and picks up a slightly chalky undertone. Sweeter with water with some prickly, almost peppery oak emerging at the end.
Comments: Classic Speyside bourbon cask whisky: an excellent marriage of oak, malt and fruit. Nothing that really makes it stand out, and not much by way of complexity, but no flaws either.
Rating: 87 points.