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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

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.

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!)

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