Linkwood 9, 2010 (Old Particular for K&L)


I believe that after this review I will only have one whisky left to write up from K&L’s 2020 parcel of casks—or at least the ones I went in on bottle splits of. A good thing too as their 2021 casks have begun to arrive, as have my shares of bottle splits of some of those casks! Anyway, after this Linkwood I will only have an Aberlour 25 to review and I expect to get to that this month as well. At nine years of age this one is quite a bit younger—and it’s also quite a bit younger than the teaspooned Linkwood they brought in last year. I was not terribly enthused by that 27 yo. Will this one, a third its age and bottled from a refill bourbon barrel at an eye-popping strength, be any better? Let’s see.

Linkwood 9, 2010 (62.6%; Old Particular for K&L; refill barrel 14285; from a bottle split)

Nose: Quite expressive despite the high strength: red fruit (cherry) mixed with lemon; some floral sweetness; cereals; malt; and a bit of polished oak. The fruit intensifies with time and the oak expands a bit too. A few drops of water and this turns into a lemon bar dusted liberally with powdered sugar. Continue reading

The Road to Elgin/Linkwood 27, 1993 (OMC for K&L)


Here to close out 25+ yo whisky week is a 27 yo Linkwood (see here for Monday’s Ben Nevis and here for yesterday’s Bunnahabhain). Actually, technically this is not a Linkwood as it is yet another of K&L’s teaspooned casks from their late 2020 parcel of exclusives. Which other distillery the small amount out of 27 yo used to teaspoon this cask came from I have no idea. Linkwood itself is an unstoried name and Diageo does so little to promote it as a single malt that it’s a bit surprising they care enough to insist on indie casks of its whisky being teaspooned and sold under another name. Then again, I suppose it may not be Diageo that’s insisting on the teaspooning: some/many of the teaspooned casks in this K&L parcel are not from Diageo distilleries. K&L’s own comments about this are characteristically confusing: as far as I can make out, they’re saying the decision to teaspoon is a decision to offer better value to the customer. But why would their source sell them for less the exact same cask they could have charged K&L more for just because they teaspooned it? Or is it something like avoiding an add-on licensing fee for using the name of the distillery? If so, why does it need to be teaspooned—why can’t it just be given a different name? And why doesn’t the source care that K&L tells everyone in its marketing that this is in fact a Linkwood? If you understand the nuances please let me know. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Linkwood 1991-2011 (Berry Bros. & Rudd)


I last reviewed a Linkwood exactly two years ago. The time is right for another review. Here it is. This Berry Bros. & Rudd cask is a bit of a mystery. Whiskybase lists the same cask at cask strength whereas this is at 46%. Normally, I would put this down to shenanigans on the part of the source of my sample, the diabolical Florin. However, Michael K. who also received a sample of this reports that this 46% version was indeed sold at Total Wine back in the day. Same cask, two releases at different strengths? Maybe. Anyway, here is my take on it (read Michael’s review from earlier this year here).

Linkwood 1991-2011 (46%; Berry Bros. & Rudd; cask 10343; from a sample from a friend)

Nose: Oh this is nicely fruity—tinned fruit (a blend of peach, pineapple and mango) and also the tin. It’s not a fruit bomb—the fruit is not intense, but it is there. After a couple of minutes there’s a bit of prickly oak as well. As it sits the fruit expands a bit and there’s some citrus in there too now. A couple of drops of water push the metallic and oaky notes back. Continue reading

Linkwood 1984-2014 (Malts of Scotland)


Linkwood, in the Speyside, is one of Diageo’s workhorses. Being included in last year’s collection of overpriced “special releases” hasn’t really raised its profile (in fact, I can’t remember reading any reviews of that bottle). I do remember some of my own reviews, however, and I was not a fan of the last Linkwood I reviewed. That was this 19 yo from 1997 that was part of K&L’s winter 2016 parcel of Signatory exclusives. It was quite a step down from the two previous Linkwoods I’d reviewed (another 19 yo from Chieftain’s and this 16 yo from Signatory). Here’s hoping this much older one (it’s a 30 yo) from 1984 will be much better. I’ve not had very many older Linkwoods, and the only others I’ve had from the 1980s (see this edition of “Quick Hits”) didn’t exactly set my world on fire either.

Well, I guess this has not been the most promising of openings but Malts of Scotland are usually a very reliable bottler. Let’s get right to it.  Continue reading

Linkwood 19, 1997 (Signatory for K&L)

Linkwood 19, 1997, Signatory for K&L
Just about a year ago I posted reviews of four exclusive Signatory casks for K&L in California. I split those bottles with a bunch of other people. I liked a couple of them a lot (the Blair Athol 26 and the Benrinnes 20) and while the other two didn’t get me very excited, they were solid malts as well (a Glen Elgin 24 and an Imperial 19). Here I am now with the winter 2016 edition of K&L’s Signatory casks. In addition to this Linkwood 19, there is an Imperial 20, a Dufftown 18 and a Glenburgie 21. Three are priced quite reasonably (<$100); I guess we’re being asked to pay a closed distillery premium for the Imperial ($120). In my review of last year’s Glen Elgin 24 I closed by saying that that bottle only seemed like a good deal for the age if you fetishized a high age statement, not so much for the actual whisky, which was just a middle of the road malt of its type. Still, I did like all of last year’s casks. Will these be at least at that level? Continue reading

Linkwood 19, 1993 (Chieftain’s)

Linkwood 19, 1993, Chieftain's
I really liked the Binny’s Linkwood 16 I reviewed a month and a half or so ago (enough to purchase a full bottle after going through my share of a bottle split) and it’s about time I started acquainting myself more fully with this distillery’s output. This one is just a bit older than the Binny’s exclusive (via Signatory) but far younger than the 37 year old that is scheduled to arrive later this year as part of Diageo’s annual Special Release lineup. That one will probably cost around $1000 so even if this review is highly untimely it is no less useful than any reviews you will read in October or November of that 37 year old.

This was bottled by Chieftain’s, an Ian MacLeod label that doesn’t seem to be quite as ubiquitous in the US as it once was. Or maybe it still is and I’m just not paying attention—wouldn’t be the first time I didn’t know what I was talking about and also not the hundredth time.   Continue reading

Linkwood 16, 1998 (Signatory for Binny’s)

Linkwood 16, 1998, Signatory for Binny's
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.   Continue reading

Quick Hits: Two Linkwoods from the 80s

Linkwood
Another entry in the “Quick Hits” series: this time two Linkwoods from the 1980s. (Previously featured: two 1980s Inchgowers, and two 1960s Tomintouls). Once again, too little of each to form very confident appraisals and so there are no ratings and I would encourage you not to in any way consider these notes (or the previous entries in the series) as guides for making purchasing decisions.

I don’t know a whole lot about Linkwood. I’ve had a few bourbon cask teenagers and that’s about it. It’s a Speyside distillery that makes a lightly fruity malt that mostly goes into Diageo’s blends. Every one that I have tried (only 2-3) has been solid but none have knocked my socks off. Will these samples demonstrate sock knocking-off potential?  Continue reading