Out of the blend-oriented Speyside distilleries, Linkwood has to be one of my favorites, though I will admit that it doesn't have a firm empirical basis as it comes to me partially by extrapolation. Whisky drinkers are most likely to encounter it as a component of the nerd favorite Johnnie Walker Green Label blended malt, a comparatively bright star among the dullness of the rest of the JW lineup. I've also quite enjoyed the single cask from Signatory that I tried, which had a lot of the character I enjoyed from JW Green without the associated Diageo muddiness. So I was interested to see how the spirit would fare when subjected to more active sherry casks rather than more neutral refill bourbon casks.
This whisky is aged for a minimum of fifteen years in refill sherry casks then bottled at 43% with chill filtration and possibly with added color.
This was sampled at the Wallace Bar in Lyon.
G&M Linkwood 15 Year
Nose: richly sherried, more sweet than savory, raisins, a slightly burnt edge, creamy, lightly perfumed/floral. After adding a few drops of water it is largely unchanged except for a bit of funk that comes out.
Taste: sherry-driven and moderately sweet with a floral background throughout, fades into creamy malt near the back. After dilution the sherry becomes brighter up front, but the fade into the finish is more bittersweet.
Finish: bittersweet, sherried, lightly tannic, creamy malt
First, some caveats. I tried this whisky at a fairly noisy, crowded bar and the pour was from the bottom of the bottle, so I'm not particularly confident that it was showing its best side. With that said, I found it fairly boring. Its extremely generic with little to make any Linkwood character clear. The sherry casks are the star of the show and while they are technically flawless, there are no flourishes either. So while it's a perfectly competent sherried malt that would make for an easy-drinking whisky when you don't want anything challenging, it's also not something that I will go out of my way to buy.