Linkwood 26 Year Old, 53.8% ABV, Blackadder Raw Cask series
This is my review of our third bottle from Blackadder’s “Raw Cask” series which bottles whisky directly from the cask- without any mechanical filtering of the charred cask sediments and wood flakes.
The third bottle is a Linkwood single malt.
Linkwood 26 Year Old, 53.8%, Raw Cask Statement No. 9, 1987, Single Oak Hogshead Cask
FRAGRANT AND FLORAL
Note: We assign every bottle we review to one of five Flavour Camps, based on the most dominant flavours found. The Flavour Camps are : (1) Fragrant and Floral, (2) Fruity and Spicy, (3) Malty and Dry, (4) Rich and Round and (5) Smokey and Peaty. To learn more about each Flavour Camp, please click here.
I’m going to guess that this 26 year old Linkwood is a bourbon matured whisky due to its colour and aroma.
You might not have heard of a Linkwood, but chances you are likely to have unknowingly drunk some Linkwood in your time from Uncle Diageo. The vast majority of the whisky distilled at Linkwood is used in Diageo-owned blends such as Black & White, White Horse and, yes, Johnnie Walker. As Linkwood barely releases any single malts of its own, more effort has been unsurprisingly spent by Diageo on blending and promoting the Johnnie Walker brand instead. This is also why Linkwood expressions are more commonly seen as independent bottlings.
Linkwood’s whiskies are known to have aromas of a spring meadow with cut grass, apples and flower blossoms. With some years of maturation, the palate shows a rich and thick texture with some viscosity- this combination of texture and freshness is what makes Linkwood’s whiskies prized by blenders and whisky enthusiasts.
In the glass, the whisky is a deep gold colour.
On the nose, very refined, fresh and sweet notes of bright summer fruits and flowers. Immediately opens with distinct but delicate notes of nectarine and peaches with no alcohol prickliness whatsoever. The sweetness is actually much like a very specific brand Japanese peach jelly (I can’t remember that brand but see the packaging image below). This develops into lighter floral notes and Jasmine green tea. In the background are very rich and notes of vanilla whipped cream and light caramel.
On the palate, delicate vanilla sweetness and brightness with a very nice, viscous texture. Notes of fresh melons and a growing vanilla creaminess slowly develop on the tongue. The thick velvety texture and sweetness really reminds me of Campino brand strawberry crème hard candy.
There is of course a bit of spice, but it’s a very slight and gentle alcoholic tinge, almost mentholated.
This isn’t exactly a flavour bomb, but the combination of a refreshing profile and a very thick texture is quite unmatched by any single malt I’ve tasted. It’s a little bit like the pleasurable sensation of swallowing cool refrigerated Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa (枇杷膏or pípá gāo) syrup- of course without any herbal flavour.
The finish is medium length with lingering creaminess, slight toffee note, growing oak and a sliver of beery hoppiness at the end.
I couldn’t get enough of the Linkwood. Of the four bottles I’ve tasted from Blackadder, this dram is my favourite.
I can certainly see why Linkwood is trusted by blenders. The whisky is fresh and clean with a rather sweet and friendly flavour profile. This isn’t a flavour bomb. Instead, the flavours are delicate and take some time to present themselves. What is very unusual and enjoyable is the rich texture of the mature Linkwood, with its thick texture that slowly glides down the throat smoothly without so much as a slight singe.
With its amazing texture and light sweetness, my favourite dram by far from Blackadder gets a honeypot and a shooting star.
A dram great for sipping at any time of the day really, although with its freshness and delicate sweetness, it would be even better enjoyed with a simple but incredibly satisfying dish of unagi chazuke and dashi (Japanese grilled eel over rice topped with lightly savoury bonito fish broth).
If this sounds like something you’d like, check out the Blackadder shelf at INTERCO’s online store. Alternatively, if you are based in Singapore and itching to dine out, head down to Frenchie Restaurant and Wine Bar at 81 Tras St (INTERCO’s partner) and order a dram from the bartender.