ABV: 48.2% Distillery: Linkwood Bottler: That Boutique-y Whisky Company Region: SpeysideAge: 10
For 13 years, Linkwood was in fact two distilleries. Originally constructed in 1821, and completely rebuilt in 1874, it was joined by a second distillery (Linkwood ‘B’) in 1972 when a DCL (the forerunner of Diageo) upped the capacity of the whole site by running both distilleries alongside each other until 1985. Over this period, the newer Linkwood was used to maintain the bulk of the overall production – whilst the older site was utilised in a more experimental vein. Research – not necessarily released as funky bottling – that’s more a thing of the present than the past explored a range of distillation based themes - from reflux and copper contact through to the use of wormtubs. The original site was demolished in 2012 – whilst Linkwood B continues to expand, now producing in excess of 5.5m LPA.
Door 20 of the 2019 Boutique-y Whisky Advent calendar provides us with a dram of the bottler's Linkwood 10 year old Batch 8. This batch looks to have been produced as an exclusive for German retailer Whiskytaste.de who are located roughly an hour north east of Frankfurt in Hunfeld. The bottling could be from a single cask (or, I guess possible part of a larger vatted batch – though less likely as if so, where’s the rest of it) given the low number of bottles at only 417. Comparing this to Batch 7 with 1,634 bottles, you’ll see the marked difference between a general release and an exclusive shop release. Batch 8 is delivered at 48.2% and is still available from Whiskytaste for a currently discounted price of 34.90 Euros. Not too shabby at all.
Nose: Bright and vibrant with orchard fruits (particularly apples) - part freshly picked, part artificially flavoured (green Jolly Ranchers) – lemon curd and limoncello making for both sharpness and tartness. A healthy dusting of caster sugar is joined by a biscuit background – digestives and crumbled oatcakes, whilst a mineral tang offers limestone and a lick of salt. Dilution adds a sense of creaminess with apricot yoghurt alongside Caramac.
Taste: Opening strongly on citrus – lemon barley water, lemon posset and lemon drop candy. Fortunately, there’s more than one note here – pears and nectarines add to the fruit complement, alongside toffee. The development reveals tingly white pepper together with cough sweets and a touch of angelica. Water, similarly to the nose expresses creaminess – apricots, peaches, yoghurt and whipped Chantilly alongside apple juice.
Finish: Medium in length with candied lemon peels, pear juice and pleasantly fading pepperiness.
Straight out of the bottle I find that Boutique-y’s eighth batch of Linkwood has a laser-focussed profile – all on precise, fresh and crisp fruits with a particularly strong vein of citrus running throughout. Reduction though changes this equation up, moving the emphasis towards creaminess and stone fruits in an entirely pleasing (and slightly unexpected) transposition. There’s not a great deal of depth and complexity, but what there is here is highly drinkable and quiet comfortable with its age.
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