Linkwood – 24yo 1990 Burns Malt
(Distilled 25/4/90, bottled 24/11/14, hogshead #3540, 51.7%)
I suppose it’s tempting to think of Linkwood as a journeyman malt. Dependable, yes, but maybe a bit middle-of-the-road?
Nose: Wow, lovely. Warm croissant with a café au lait. Some caramel and stewed apple, and behind that some fresher floral notes. Distinct peach too.
Taste: Big and honeyed, with lots of malt and fudgy sweetness. Then some spiciness – cassia and cloves – and quite a lot of liquorice.
Finish: Long and nutty, with burnt sugar, apple slices fried in butter, and blood oranges. Fades out slowly on orange syrup and liquorice, and lingers subtly for an inordinately long time.
And therein lies the defence for this stalwart old Speysider (and old it is, one of the first legal distilleries after Glenlivet) – namely that it is often straightforwardly delicious. Maybe it’s not the most thrilling or idiosyncratic of malts, but who cares? Big flavours balanced by the presence of a light, fruity and floral spirit that keeps everything fresh. Sweetness balanced by the slight bitterness of liquorice, spice and wood. Quality.