...where distraction is the main attraction.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The April Advance

WELCOME TO APRIL'S GIMMICK!

Yes, indeed. I have a plan for this upcoming month.

Ready for it???

...

...

Okay, here it is...

...

I'm going to post a lot of reviews.

Brilliant, right?

There's a new crop of recently purchased samples awaiting consumption here, thus many of April's reviews will be somewhat relevant. Amazing!

Normally, there are a dozen spirits reviewed here each month. I'm going for three dozen in April. Randy Brandy and Rum Dummy will each make an appearance, and there's a Killing Whisky History episode in production.

Beatrice finds this idea dubious...


...but I'm determined to make her proud of her father. So I'm going to drink more.

Stay tuned!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Ardmore 13 year old 1998 SMWS 66.32

And then there was this thing.


Those comedians at SMWS named this concoction 'Roly-Poly Pudding'. More thoughts about this after the tasting notes including...NAME THAT WHISKY!

Distillery: Ardmore
Region: Highlands (Eastern)
Independent bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Age: 13 years (March 1998 to January 2012)
Maturation: refill sherry gorda
"Poetic" name: ← nope
Cask number66.32
Outturn: 752
Alcohol by Volume: 58.6%
(from a purchased sample)

NEAT
The nose has no coherence. Element 1: Salted caramels and hot ghee. Element 2: Urine. Element 3: Car exhaust and smoked fish. Element 4: Grape juice and cheap plastic toys. Element 5: Urine. Lather, rinse, repeat. The palate is a little more focused? Grape candy, grape juice, Manischewitz Concord, black raisins, peppercorns, lemons, gunpowder and an unceasing sourness. Grape candy, raisins, pepper, caramel candy and lots of heat in the finish.

Shall we?

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or 1⅔ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
Butter, urine, soot, gunpowder, grape juice and peat on the nose. I likes me some bitterness, but the palate is almost unpalatably bitter at first. Beneath the violence is some chocolate, grape jelly and ash. The bitterness backs off as a similarly aggressive sweetness takes over. Lemon candy, grape candy, peppercorns and ash in the finish.

Um, more?

DILUTED to ~40%abv, or 2¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose: gunpowder and hot urine in a peat kiln. The palate: Sugar water with ash and woody bitterness. The finish: Grape bubblegum, ash and lemon juice.

WORDS WORDS WORDS
Recently I've been enjoying sherry cask whisky more than I used to but this stuff is no sherry bomb. This is

GUNPOWDER AND PISS IN GRAPE CANDYLAND.

I felt kinda sad experiencing Ardless so directly. And everything about this whisky got worse as I added water. It's close to gross. But I guess it gets points for insanity. And it wasn't horrible when it was neat, I suppose.

Seriously, I'm talking myself out of failing an Ardmore. But it's not the distillery's fault here.

Perhaps there's no way to salvage a cask like this. You just dump it ASAP, slap a £125 price tag on each of the 752 bottles, and then hope that once everyone who vomits money for anything sherried clears out the outturn you walk away with more than $125,000 in revenue.

Enough. Go enjoy something better. This week is over.

Availability - mercifully gone
Pricing - £125
Rating - 68

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Ardmore 16 year old 1997 Cadenhead Small Batch

Weekends with two wee critters are chaos, free time is scarce right now. There are some quiet moments in the middle of Saturday and Sunday that are generally free. On Sunday I took a nap (WORD!). On Saturday I tried all three of this week's Ardmores.

This week's first Ardmore was a success. How about the Wednesday Ardmore? Like the Asta Morris bottling, this Cadenhead (the oldest of the trio) was aged in US oak. As part of the very Small Batch range, the 16yo was aged in a pair of bourbon hogsheads. Likely refill hogheads...

The writing of whisky posts usually occurs late at night, as do the bottle photos, unless I want some actual natural light to show up. Daylight photos present challenges, especially if I want to include someone's toys in the background. That was deemed unacceptable here again.


Distillery: Ardmore
Region: Highlands (Eastern)
Independent Bottler: Cadenhead
Range: Small Batch
Age: 16 years old (21 August 1997 - December 2013)
Maturation: two bourbon hogsheads
Outturn: 552
Alcohol by Volume: 55.2%
(from a purchased sample)

NEAT
The nose is slow to wake, starting up with just dirty stones and hay. It gets farmier with time, and picks up notes of black smoke and cruciferous veg. The palate comes pretty close to matching the nose. It is grassy and cruciferous. Stones, fabric, salt and heat. It's like licking soot-covered bricks. It finishes with pepper, salt, soil, soot and heat.

This might need water.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1¼ teaspoons of water per 30mL whisky
The nose is now all grass, cilantro, celery and notebook paper. Bricks, barley and grass lead the palate. It's slightly sweeter now, but also hotter, somehow. The finish hasn't changed one iota.

More water?

DILUTED TO ~37%abv, or 1 tablespoon of water per 30mL whisky
Grass, black pepper, rocks and lemon peel in the nose. The palate gets tangier, sweeter and earthier, but it's also getting sharp and bitter, and the finish mirrors this.

WORDS WORDS WORDS
There are two types of austere whiskies. Those that provide subtle, rigid, direct, thoughtful experiences for palates weary of affectation. And those that are meh. The smell of this whisky suggests the former, the taste plants its ass firmly in the latter.

Yes, the whisky is absent vanilla and coconut and sawdust and grape juice and parades. And it will satisfy your desire to sip hot salty bricks. But Monday's Asta Morris Ardmore was a lean, calm, sturdy thing that delivered intellectual satisfaction while allowing for brief stirrings of indulgence. This Cadenhead Ardmore does not. 30mL was just enough.

Availability - still floating around Europe and Asia
Pricing - $80 - $125
Rating - 80

Monday, March 25, 2019

Ardmore 14 year old 2000 Asta Morris, cask AM042

Once upon a time, it was a dream of mine to turn this blog into Diving for Ardmore, but reality has since set in. Though many indie bottlers are now pricing single cask Ardmores towards the upper tier of Highland malts, there are plenty of sub-par Ardmores (or Ardlesses, if I'm going to be hilarious) out there. But I'm hoping none of this week's trio falls into that category.

This first Ardmore is a single cask, former bourbon barrel, released by Belgian bottler Asta Morris. I had some issues photographing the sample bottle.


Distillery: Ardmore
Region: Highlands (Eastern)
Independent Bottler: Asta Morris
Age: 14 years old (2000 - 2015)
Maturation: bourbon barrel
Cask: AM042
Outturn: 181
Exclusive to: Belgium
Alcohol by Volume: 51.3%
(from a purchased sample)

NEAT
Antiseptic-dipped peaches and bandaged pears in the nose. Grilled pork and barn hay. Hints of chalk, cocoa powder and cut grass. A gentle brown sugar sweetness in the palate is joined by Ceylon cinnamon and clementines. Then cayenne pepper, honey, subtle smoke and barley husks. VERY moreish. The long, warm finish holds cinnamon and cayenne heat, toasted barley, salt and mildly sweet peat.

I'm reluctantly adding water...

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or ¾ tsp of water per 30mL water
There are lemons, pears, bandages, ocean air and pastry dough in the nose. The palate has gotten peatier. It's grassy and herbal. Cinnamon, pepper, tart apples and a similar soft sweetness. The finish still has a good length. Tangy lemons and tart apples. Wood smoke and cinnamon.

WORDS WORDS WORDS
If not for the bottle's price, the nose, reminiscent of age-stated Yoichi (remember those? 💔), would have sold me in an instant. The palate and finish are much simpler, though very appealing. The ABV, though low for the age, is at a great spot, and the oak stays out of the way. It's comforting knowing one doesn't have to go back to the early '90s to find a good Ardmore.

Availability - A few Belgian retailers
Pricing - $100+ with shipping
Rating - 88

Friday, March 22, 2019

Glengoyne 12 year old 2001 SMWS 123.8

Monday's whisky was quiet, Wednesday's was harsh. Today's lived in a port pipe for 12 years and was bottled at a much higher ABV than the other two Glengoynes.


As is the SMWS fashion, the bottle came with a silly name and silly price, and people bought it. Lots of it, in fact, because the pipe turned out 743 bottles. Yes, a 12 year old Glengoyne delivered a $130,000 gross to the company who named a Scottish whisky aged in a Portuguese fortified wine cask, "In the Spanish mountains".

Yes. "In the Spanish mountains." I mean...

...For fuck's sake. WHICH IS IT: the Sierra Nevada, Sistema de Gredos or The Sierra Madrona? If you're going to be odd, be specific. Like this:

PUTIN THE PYRENEES

See? That has four meanings, and least two are funny. And, like your titles, it has nothing to do with the whisky.

Stay tuned for the next "Name That Whisky!", brought to you by SMWS.

source

Distillery: 
Glengoyne
Owner: Ian MacLeod Distillers
Region: Highlands, but right on the Southern border
Independent bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Age: 12 years (3 April 2001 to 2014)
Maturation: refill port pipe
"Poetic" name: ← nope
Cask number123.8
Outturn: 743
Alcohol by Volume: 59.2%
(thanks to Brett P for the sample!)

NEAT
The nose begins with oat, cocoa and raspberry jam. Then there's almond brittle, fresh baked whole wheat bread, ground cloves, funky honey and burnt pie crust. The palate is warm but not hot, showing off Syrah, cinnamon, cloves, cayenne and ginger snap cookies. It finishes with blackberry jam, salt and the ginger snaps.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose keeps most of the same notes, but also picks up chocolate, roses, orange zest and a little bit of maple. The palate gets simpler, toastier and saltier. Subtle grape notes and mint candy. Only lightly sweet. Bitter cocoa, tart berries and a sprinkle of sugar in the finish.

WORDS WORDS WORDS
While Wednesday's 16yo was all alcohol burn at 51.1%abv, this 12 year old from SMWS reads lighter than its 59.2% ABV. This whisky's palate and finish are very bright and expressive without being h-o-t. The nose is great. The whisky also takes water well, peeling back the port for some more classic whisky notes to peek through. Yeah, it can be a little winey at full power, but I like it. In fact this is one of the best Glengoynes I've had. Cheers to Putin the Pyrenees!

Availability - sold out
Pricing - £110, in 2014. Yuh.
Rating - 88

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Glengoyne 16 year old 1997 Sovereign for K&L, cask HL9968

Monday's Glengoyne was from many sherry casks, today's comes from a single bourbon cask. And it's from an independent bottler. Several years ago, one rarely saw indie Glengoynes. But now there are casks from Cadenhead, Malts of Scotland, SMWS, Berry Brothers and both Laings. At least 95% of these casks are not released in the United States, which is why this K&L Wine Merchants exclusive cask from one of the Laing brands was probably of interest to some whisky enthusiasts in this country. Time to see if it's good.


Distillery: Glengoyne
Owner: Ian MacLeod Distillers
Region: Highlands, but right on the Southern border
Independent Bottler: Hunter Hamilton
Range: The Sovereign
Exclusive to: K&L Wine Merchants
Age: 16 years old (1997 - ????)
Maturation: probably a refill bourbon barrel
Cask numberHH9968
Alcohol by Volume: 51.1%
(thanks to Brett P for the sample!)

NEAT
Riesling and roasted barley on the nose. Then corn bread, lemon zest, citronella oil and American oak. More of the last as time goes on. The raw, sharp palate reads hotter than the ABV. Salt and minerals, barley, lime and a hint of vanilla. But mostly burn. It finishes with minerals, limes and fire.

Needs water. Hopefully.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or ⅔ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
Barley, sand, lemon, caramel and a hint of mushrooms on the nose. The palate is still plenty hot. There's a tiny bit more fruit, maybe blueberries and nectarines? Some vanilla cookies. There are hints of fruits and flowers in the finish but it's still stark and hot.

DILUTED TO ~40%abv, or 1⅔ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
Lemon, ginger, mint and coffee cake on the nose. Lemon, pepper and bitterness in the palate, along with berries and stones. Stones, berries, pepper and caramel in the finish.

WORDS WORDS WORDS
The exact opposite of the official 21, this single cask Glengoyne is loud and difficult. (I'm glad I did not try them side by side because this one may have fared even worse than it did here.) The nose always works, but the palate does not. Water and oxygen don't help. It reminds me of the many 6-7 year old single cask single malts that are still popping up like weeds at European retailers. Those whiskies have the excuse of being 6-7 years old, and perhaps would have been salvageable at twice their ages. This whisky is already 16 years old. At least it was pulled before it became raw and oaky. This feels like the sort of whisky that some companies would choose re-rack or finish before unleashing it to the thirsty thousands. A port cask, anyone?

Availability - sold out
Pricing - $79.99
Rating - 77

Monday, March 18, 2019

Glengoyne 21 year old

Yes, St. Patrick's Day came and went, yet there was no Irish whiskey review on Diving for Pearls. But here's what I've got for you: Glengoyne. With the substantial influence the Irish had on the Lowlands and Lowland whisky, and with Glengoyne sitting right on the border of the Highlands and Lowlands......

Well, there it is.

Glengoyne rarely goes astray (in my experience) and they remain proudly unpeated, so I've wanted to review more of their whiskies, but I have only three samples in my stash. After this weekend's tastings, there are now zero samples. How about I start with a Glengoyne that can actually be purchased?

The official Glengoyne 21 year old, to be more specific. I first tried this whisky at an Edinburgh pub during our 2017 trip. The whisky was perfectly fine, but also perfectly forgettable as it was much like most other reasonably made sherried single malts. Since I was sipping it in a pub, I thought perhaps something from the whisky was being lost in the environment. So this weekend I tried it a second time, but at home.


Distillery: Glengoyne
Owner: Ian MacLeod Distillers
Region: Highlands, but right on the border
Age: minimum 21 years
Maturation: "exclusively in hand-selected sherry casks"
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
Chillfiltered? ???
Caramel Colorant? No, according to their site
(Thanks to St. Brett for the sample!)

NOTES
The nose takes a few minutes to wake up. First there are mild notes of dried berries, oak spice and anise. Caramel sauce and cinnamon. A bakery note (cream puffs, perhaps?). With time in the glass it gains a nutty sherry note, along with hints of orange juice and vanilla. The palate is always pleasant and gentle. Silky sherry and a light bitterness in the fore. Grape-ier notes in the midground. After 30 minutes, there's a rush of malt and almonds. It's never too sweet. It finishes slightly sweeter and with more tannins. Almonds, pinot noir, oranges and limes.

WORDS WORDS WORDS
On one hand, one wishes that Macallan still made whisky like this. On the other hand, there's nothing that says "Glengoyne" about this whisky. It could be any sherry cask single malt. On the third hand, this whisky is so quiet it almost vanishes before one can sort out what one just drank. It feels lighter than 43%abv (or 40% for that matter), aside from a good texture in the mouth. So, it's one of those whiskies that's just fine, and probably won't disappoint, unless you're looking for distillery character (whatever that may be) or something more vibrant.

Availability - Many specialty liquor retailers in USA and Europe
Pricing - $130-$190 in the US. $90-$150 in Europe (ex-VAT).
Rating - 83

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%

NEAT
Aside from orange notes, the nose reads much different than the other four Linkwoods I've just reviewed. 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.

WORDS WORDS WORDS
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)

Monday, March 11, 2019

Linkwood 20 year old 1991-2011 Berry Bros & Rudd, cask 10343

Usually when Florin sends me samples, they get filed away for thirty-eight years. But for reasons unknown I immediately opened the 2oz sample bottle of this Linkwood 20yo and split its contents between one glencairn and one 1oz bottle. I remember enjoying the drink and considering breaking into many of my samples to do the same. I haven't, but I should.

There may have been two releases from this cask. Whiskybase lists a cask strength version sold through K&L — though I have my doubts about it since "Sovereign" is a Laing brand, not a Berry Brothers brand. The other release, which I know exists because I saw it with my own eyes at Total Wine & More back in the day, was bottled at 46%abv and is what I'm reviewing today.

I tried it side-by-side with a 26 year old Linkwood (to be reviewed on Wednesday Thursday). They were very different whiskies.

Blurry bottle on the right
Distillery: Linkwood
Owner: Diageo
Region: Speyside (Lossie)
Independent Bottler: Berry Bros & Rudd
Age: 20 years (1991-2011)
Maturation: ???
Cask#: 10343
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
(Thanks, Florin!)

NEAT
Mango nectar. lychee, orange zest and Skittles on the nose. A little bit of oak and chile pepper fumes in the background. Passionfruit cream and grapefruit juice appear after 20+ minutes. The simpler palate shows lemons, limes and vanilla. Smaller notes of honeydew and mango. It's mildly sweet, tangy and peppery. The finish is long, though sharper and narrower than the palate. Lots of citrus, with smaller notes of salt and milk chocolate.

DILUTED TO ~40%abv, or < 1tsp of water per 30mL whisky
On the nose there are gummi bears and oranges over a layer of French oak-like toasted spices. The palate has become saltier and woodier. Mostly citrus, vanilla and sugar. It finishes lightly sweet and citric.

WORDS WORDS WORDS
I wish I hadn't passed over this bottle all those years ago. I'm a sucker for fruity whisky, and this one delivers. It's not complex, it doesn't swim well and it starts to lose focus in the finish, but those are small gripes this time around because the whisky is such a pleasant drink. It's the sort of whisky that one does not lose interest in halfway down the bottle. I could use more of those.

Availability - all gone
Pricing - ???
Rating - 86 (neat only!)

Friday, March 8, 2019

Linkwood 29 year old 1985 Signatory for K&L, cask 450

And now another single hogshead of Linkwood. This time it's from Signatory's Unchillfiltered range, and was sold exclusively through K&L Wines.

I was looking for a challenger to Wednesday's very fine 16yo 1998, and here it is. A 29 year old with less evaporation (and yes, I'm taking the dilution into consideration). This sample came from an LA Scotch Club / K&L event that included one fabulous Springbank and one fabulous Glenlivet. Is that a promising or threatening sign for this Linkwood????


Distillery: Linkwood
Owner: Diageo
Region: Speyside (Lossie)
Independent Bottler: Signatory
Age: 29 years (26 November 1985 - 7 June 2015)
Maturation: Hogshead
Cask#: 450
Outturn: 201 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Exclusive to: K&L Wine Merchants

NOSE
The nose is musty and malty, with mushroom and mustard. A bright fruit cocktail note merges with hints of vanilla and brine. It gets more candied and grassy with time. Fruity and malty on the palate too, with lots of lemon and lime. Pears, apples, vanilla and oak spices. The simple sweetness makes this a very easy drinking whisky. The youthful finish has all that citrus, along with apple/floral notes. (Sorry, I ran out of alliteration.)

DILUTED TO ~43%abv, or ⅓ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose loses its old musty side, but holds on to the fruit and wood. Tangerines, fruit cocktail syrup, ground cardamom and vanilla. The palate gets louder. The citrus is sweeter. The malt is...maltier. More pepper, and the beginnings of something tannic. The sweetness nearly vanishes from the finish, leaving mostly pepper, salt and a little bit of grain.

WORDS WORDS WORDS
Aside from the neat nose, this Linkwood reads younger than its age. Also apart from the sniffer, it's simple and light. I like a little more fight and complexity, so I don't recommend diluting this one. Also, adding water starts oaking up the place, which also happened when Wednesday's Linkwood was hydrated. As Jordan and Florin mentioned in the comments on Monday, there's definitely a vatted malt or well-aged blended whisky character present, especially in its flavors. Though the '98 Linkwood appeals more to my preferences, this '85 would always please a crowd.

Availability - all gone
Pricing - $199.99
Rating - 86 (neat only!)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Linkwood 16 year old 1998 Signatory for Binny's, cask 5121

Next up is a Linkwood from Signatory's Cask Strength Collection, sold exclusively through Binny's. Though its alcohol content is parked right in my favorite ABV zone (46-50), I am a little concerned that it dropped this low at this whisky's age. The small outturn also points to considerable evaporation. But the very tiny (and probably very drunk) optimist on my brain's shoulder is reminding me of my good experience with Binnys's's's cask selections in the past.

Mr. Amiable Opinions picked up a bottle of this stuff for a nice price less than three years ago. Thank you, sir, for parting with this sample!


Distillery: Linkwood
Owner: Diageo
Region: Speyside (Lossie)
Independent Bottler: Signatory
Age: 16 years (4 June 1998 - 8 April 2014)
Maturation: Hogshead
Cask#: 5121
Outturn: 165 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 49.3%
Exclusive to: Binny's

NEAT
The nose stocks all the fruits up front: peaches, bananas, applesauce and something exotic. There's also a level of savory-ish things, like BBQ-flavored chips and ground mustard seed. It all gets meatier with time, while also picking up oak spice and bubblegum notes. The palate is warm but never hot. It has tart citrus, white fruit juices and a bright bitter bite. After some time the citrus gets sweeter, a little bit of vanilla sneaks in and a Talisker-like cayenne pepper note appears. Lots of citrus in the lengthy finish, along with zippy fresh ginger and oak spice.

DILUTED to ~43%abv, or ¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
Citronella, orange candy, barbecue sauce and bubblegum on the nose. The palate has become gentler and fruitier, but tannins keep interrupting, drying things out. It finishes with oak spice and malt, like a Compass Box creation.

WORDS WORDS WORDS
Nope, nothing wrong with the abv here. With its fruits, the palate is vivid without ever feeling hot. But the real picnic party is in this Linkwood's nose, all fruity, meaty and spicy. Though oak is always present, it never intrudes......while neat. Adding water turns the palate much too tannic and constricts the nose.

So 49.3%abv is indeed its money spot. This is another low-hype, high-quality pick by Binny's. (This cask is long gone, but Binny's has a murder of Signatory Linkwoods right now. But tough noogies for folks outside of Illinois. And most of us are folks outside of Illinois.) I'm having a difficult time picturing another contemporary Linkwood topping this one. Though the tiny optimist likes the challenge.

Availability - all gone
Pricing - they put it on clearance for $69.99 at the end
Rating - 88 (neat only!)

Monday, March 4, 2019

Linkwood 16 year old 1995 Signatory, cask 648

I realized while filming this month's Killing Whisky History episode I've posted very few Linkwood reviews so...

WELCOME TO LINKWOOD MONTH!

Just kidding. It's more like Linkwood Week and a Half. There are three of these critters this week, one from each of Signatory's ranges. First up is a 1995 single cask from Signatory's Vintage 43%abv line. Thank you to Jordan of Chemistry of the Cocktail for the sample!


Distillery: Linkwood
Owner: Diageo
Region: Speyside (Lossie)
Independent Bottler: Signatory
Age: 16 years (30 January 1995 - 8 August 2011)
Maturation: Hogshead
Cask#: 648
Alcohol by Volume: 43%

NOTES
The nose starts off with toasted grains and a mild cheddar note (likely from the yeast). Then comes lemon and baked pear, with hints of vanilla, metal and mushrooms. A pretty floral new make note appears after 30 minutes. There's something old school blendy about the palate. It's slightly salty and savory, with small notes of honey and metal. Tangerines and pears, then an aromatic note that's somewhere between flower blossoms and flower kiss candy. The finish has a good warmth and length to it considering its alcohol content. Honey and tart citrus, a balance of salt and sweet, then a whiff of coal smoke.

WORDS WORDS WORDS
This Linkwood was what was expecting to find (without success) in those Glenfiddichs last month, with its pears and citrus along with a balance of sugar and salt, though the spirit provides a bit of an edge that 'Fiddich's blenders would never allow in their mega batches. The Linkwood comes across younger than its age, due to a casual cask, but it never feels raw. It seems like it might just blend well, so I saved a few mLs for one of my terrifying mini vattings. I'll report back on it in a couple weeks.

Availability - ???
Pricing - it was around $70 back in the day
Rating - 84

Friday, March 1, 2019

Killing Whisky History, Episode 22: Linkwood Distillery "A" vs Linkwood Distillery "B"

A Mad Men episode started me down the path that led to this episode. The set designer's effort was thoughtful, though the bottle was an anachronism. In any case...


In 1971 a newer modern distillery (B) was built adjacent to the original Linkwood distillery (A) that had been constructed 150 years earlier. In 1985, Linkwood A was closed, never to reopen. In this episode, I try a Linkwood single malt from each distillery. SPOILER ALERT: On the March Lamb-Lion Meter, they're both delightful lions.