Friday, April 29, 2016

Whisky Review: Signatory Vintage Linkwood 16 Year 1995/2011

Linkwood has an exceptionally long and moderately complicated history that I will largely leave to Malt Madness if you're curious. The important bits of information are that the distillery is owned by Diageo, which means that its output is almost exclusively destined for blends, with the exception of the official Flora & Fauna bottling and the semi-offical Gordon & Macphail releases. But some of the casks find their way into the hands of independent bottlers.

This whisky was distilled on January 30, 1995, filled into a hogshead, then bottled on August 8, 2011 at 43% without coloring.

Signatory Linkwood 16 Year 1995/2001 Cask #648

Nose: strong floral (roses, lavender) and fruit (apple, orange, grape, banana) notes backed up by solid malt, a little grassy, a touch of fresh Ivory soap, mild oak, bubblegum, and vanilla. After adding a few drops of water it becomes softer plus more grain-focused and floral.

Taste: sweet, thick malt through out, big bittersweet floral and fruit esters (banana, berries, apple/pear) come in quickly, fade out through drier floral and grassy notes with a touch of savory oak and citrus peel/pith near the back. After dilution it becomes grainier and less sweet, but creamier and more floral/grassy.

Finish: bittersweet, oak, thick malt, floral/grassy, barest hint of soap

This is instantly recognizable to anyone who has tried Johnnie Walker Green Label, which has Linkwood as one of its main components. This is a big, characterful malt that will shine in blends, augmenting other less flavorful malt and grain whiskies.

While Signatory's Vintage line doesn't get nearly as much praise or attention as their Unchillfiltered or Cask Strength lines, they do offer solid malts at often very respectable prices. While it's possible that this whisky would have been better at a higher strength, it was exceptionally drinkable and had more than enough heft diluted to 43%. There seem to be a number of these casks floating around and I intend to get my hands on at least one or two more. If this one sounds good to you it's still available from the Ultimate Wine Shop.

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