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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Linkwood 26 year old 1989 Whiskybroker, cask 1828

(This post was delayed one day because I was stricken with Boogie Fever. I think it's going around, people.)

I don't think I've reviewed a Whiskybroker bottling before. Led by Martin Armstrong, Whiskybroker has my favorite indie bottler name — yes, they are whisky brokers — and uses magnificently generic labels. They also used to have the lowest prices in the biz for single cask releases.

Today's 26 year old Linkwood was purchased for a OCSC event in 2015. It was about £100 (w/VAT) back then. I have no memory of how well it was received at the event, so I had no idea what to expect when I lined it up next to the 1991 Linkwood.

Blurry bottle on the left
Distillery: Linkwood
Owner: Diageo
Region: Speyside (Lossie)
Independent Bottler: Whiskybroker
Age: 26 years (4 April 1989 - 18 April 2015)
Maturation: Hogshead
Cask#: 1828
Outturn: 288 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 53.1%

Aside from orange notes, the nose reads much different than the other four Linkwoods I've just reviewed. On one side it's very floral; on the other it's metallic and industrial. And there's caramel in the middle. It gets "heavier" with time. (I don't know, that's what my notes said.) Dense American oak meets peach pie. Meanwhile, the palate is exists in a different dimension. It's bitter, tart and peppery. Very drying. Kind of moldy. It softens up with time as the citrus notes come rolling in. The finish is dry and tart, like an aggressively tannic wine. Also, lots of heat and salt.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or < 1 tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose pulls its shit together. It's fruitier, prettier, cleaner and better balanced. It also gains new notes of anise and malt. The palate gets sweeter, and picks up more citrus. But it's still very drying and acidic. The moldy note lingers in the background. The finish changes little aside from gaining more wood notes.

The whiskybase community loved this bottling. I do not.

When neat the nose is a quirky mess, but fun, and is a rounded pleasure when diluted. Meanwhile, the palate. I actually don't mind the moldy note. At least that's a curiosity. I wrote "hard to drink" in my notes. That's probably not a good thing. I think that was due to the "aggressive" (a word I used four times in my notes) acidity and tannins.

This wasn't a palate problem since my test dram of Glenfiddich(!) smelled and tasted right, as did the 1991 Linkwood. Maybe I'm a wuss. Maybe there was something wrong with the sample I poured myself from the actual bottle. Or maybe I'm just going to switch to a different distillery next week.

Availability - all gone
Pricing - ~£100 w/VAT three years ago
Rating - 79 (with water)

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