Linkwood is not a sexy distillery, right? Sure there’s the Linkwood 1973 for TWE and a couple of other really good 1970s casks, but younger examples tend to be very middle-of-the-road in my experience. Often vertical whisky, with a narrow profile on barley, yeast and water. Wait…
Let’s see whether we need to change our opinion after trying three casks bottled by the Thompson Brothers, The Whiskyfind and The Taste of Whisky.
Linkwood 10 yo 2011 (55,7%, Thompson Bros for Select Spirits 2021, dechar / rechar hogshead)
Nose: the smell of grinding barley, with boiled potato water, a lot of porridge and sunflower oil. Very mashy and gristy, with a funky lactic touch. Some baking spice in the background, as well as some lemon and lemongrass tea.
Mouth: apples with plenty of citrus zest. Grapefruit peels. Then drier chalky notes and a lot of grass. White pepper and nutmeg, liquorice and lime. Still a very mashy, grainy core with some green, leafy hints as well as some unripe pear.
Finish: medium length, on malty notes, grasses, lemon peel and a peppery burn.
For me this is a typical blender’s whisky, lacking brightness and anything to get excited about. Not my kinda profile. I think this is still on its way to Australia, but I’m not entirely sure. Keep an eye on their website.
Linkwood 12 yo 2009 (57,6%, The Whiskyfind for Picnic Bar 2021, bourbon barrel #559329, 223 btl.)
Nose: better, less mashy and porridgy. Some rounder notes like banana and custard cream. Pear drops and grape juice. Later it turns more towards sourdough, lemon zest and a little ale. The floral freshness makes this brighter and more pleasant.
Mouth: sweeter and ever so slightly fruitier. Unripe pineapple, lemon candy and floral honey. Then also subtle mint, green tea and white pepper. A sweet grassy touch and subtle wax towards the end.
Finish: medium long, grapefruity, with a light biscuity note and a grassy edge.
Still clearly a member of the same family, but the added fruity touches and roundness makes this whisky more pleasant in my opinion. Score: 84/100
Linkwood 12 yo 2010 (57,5%, The Taste of Whisky ‘Pin-up Girls’ 2022, sherry butt #302799, 247 btl.)
Nose: not a wham-bam sherry bomb but the influence is easy to notice nonetheless. Red apples, poached pears, with subtle vanilla and sweet oranges. Faint hints of caramelized hazelnut and subtle hints of herbal tea. In terms of complexity this outclasses the other two.
Mouth: more orange sweetness, dried apricots and pears. Then the backing combo cinnamon / clove / pepper comes out. Then a light alcohol burn. A subtle herbal bitterness too. In the center there are still generous malty notes.
Finish: medium long, with a light metallic note, light cocoa and herbal sweetness.
Again a slightly interchangeable spirit but the sherry helps to lift this higher. Overall quite good, with a well-dosed Spanish influence. More info from TTOW. Score: 85/100