Tag Archives: 1989

Linkwood 1989 26-year-old (Whisky Broker)

Bought: Whisky Broker, 25th May 2015

83/100 – Whisky Bible 2016
89/100 – Whiskybase (average from 8 member votes)

I bought this cask strength bottle of Linkwood from the Whisky Broker in May 2015. Since then it’s provided several enjoyable sipping sessions. At 26-years-old it’s a mature Speysider but with plenty of fruity freshness. Only 288 bottles were produced from cask no.1828 and at 53.1% it packs a potent punch. It appeared in the Whisky Bible 2016 where the author, Jim Murray says “malty, sharp and, at times, searingly hot. Sparse and off key on the finish, also.” His score of 83/100 classifies this Linkwood as “good whisky worth trying”.

8 voters on Whiskybase are feeling a bit more generous than Mr Murray where 89/100 is a fantastic score. It’s up there with the Macallan 18yo and some of the best Ardbegs. Comments include “this is a remarkably good whisky” and “a very good whisky. Light in flavour profile, but really full in taste. The spice and sweetness harmonise very well.”

For me my score would sit between the Whisky Bible and Whiskybase at 86/100. It’s an excellent whisky but I’ve tasted better cask strength Linkwoods. But it’s worth buying at auction if you see it going for less than £100 and you enjoy the Linkwood profile. This is a very good example.

Tasting notes left on Whiskybase:

Nose: Pear Drops, Wine Gums, Ripe Strawberries, a slightly spirity nose but not unpleasant. After about 30 minutes and a drop of water – some lemon and still the acid pear drops. Very big and slow legs.
Taste: Acid pear drops. Fresh and sweet with some pepper. Wine Gums. A hint of licquorice and some lemon.
Finish: A dry finish. Lingering acid drops and lemon with a pepper after taste. Most pleasant.

Tamdhu 1989 (Carn Mor c.23-year-old)

Bought: Nickolls & Perks, 22nd January 2016

85/100 – Whiskybase (average from 5 member votes)

This Tamdhu is part of the 24 x 20cl bottles that make up the Carn Mor Vintage Collection. Distilled in 1989 and bottled in 2012, it’s from a limited edition of 480, Cask No: 8149. Non-chill filtered, no added colour and 46%, so the makings of something very delightful!

Tamdhu is almost the quintessential easy-drinker with a light body and malty sweetness. It’s a key component of blends like J&B, Cutty Sark and Famous Grouse but in 2010 the owners, Edrington’s, deemed the distillery surplus to requirements and closed it down. In 2011 Tamdhu was bought by Ian Macleod Distillers and re-commissioned in 2012. They have a good-looking new website and an online shop where you can buy their sleek-styled bottles of 10yo, Batch Strength and Limited Edition 10yo.

Getting back to my quarter bottle, a score of 85/100 on Whiskybase is fantastic and one voter has kindly left these tasting notes:

Nose: Apple, almond, caramel, apricot, tangerine peel and vanilla. It does have a sharp peppery edge to it.
Taste: Almond, apple, caramel, tangerine, vanilla and a little smoke.
Finish: Almond, red apple and caramel.
Comments: Not as creamy as I know Tamdhu. I would have guessed it to be younger as well.

Tamdhu 1989 Carn Mor 20cl

Hammer Head 1989 23-year-old

Bought: Whiskysite, Holland, 16th February 2015

88.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2015
76.56/100 – Whiskybase (average from 27 member votes)
86/100 – RalfyHis review on You Tube here (Dec 2014)

Scotland, the heart of the whisky industry, has been a stable country since the battle of Culloden in 1746. Legalised whisky production, that we know today, started about 50 years later. This means that no Scottish whisky exists from a time when Scotland was having an identity crisis. What’s wonderful (in a historic sense) about the Hammer Head single malt, is that it dates back to before the Czech Republic was called the Czech Republic (named in 1992). This whisky was distilled in 1989, the year the Berlin wall fell, and the iron curtain started to crumble. All this was going on but still the good people of Czechoslovakia found the passion and desire to cask up some spirit, and let it mature in peace for 23 years.

When I say all that, you can understand why some people might think this a ‘novelty’ whisky, rather than something to be taken seriously. But 88.5/100 from Jim Murray (Whisky Bible author) and 86/100 from Ralfy are excellent scores from two people who know their drams. Jim Murray says in his review “don’t bother looking for complexity: this is one of Europe’s maltiest drams…if not the maltiest.” Malty sounds nice! On the other hand, 76.5/100 on Whiskybase shows this whisky might have room for improvement for some tastes.

Whether malty or novelty, I’m still very pleased to have this bottle in my collection!

Hammerhead 23yo 70cl

Linkwood 18-year-old 1989

Bought – Justminiatures, 2nd May 2014

85/100 – Whisky Fun review (July 2008)

My 6th example of Linkwood but also my 2nd by the independent bottler James MacArthur. From reading their website it seems they specialise in cask strength bottles, and some at 43%. Always unchill-filtered and natural colour. Established in 1982 it’s very difficult to find full 70cl bottles by James MacArthur in the UK. They mostly sell abroad. I hunted around on Google for a UK source but only found Justminiatures selling full bottles, which happened to be on sale with 20% off. For future reference (like years from now), this is what I found:

  • £51.99 – Allt-A-Bhainne 1995, 16yo, 54.7%
  • £51.99 – Auchentoshan 1998, 12yo, 62.9%
  • £63.99 – Bruichladdich 1991, 20yo, 51.5%
  • £47.99 – Craigellachie 2000, 11yo, 57.3%
  • £59.99 – Girvan 1989 Single Grain, 22yo, 63%
  • £55.99 – Glen Elgin 1995, 16yo, 56.4%
  • £59.99 – Glen Grant 1992, 19yo, 59.4%
  • £47.99 – Longmorn 1996, 13yo, 56.9%

Apart from the Glen Grant, all the above were listed on the James MacArthur website as their latest products (my Linkwood is old stock). For cask strength whiskies, these are very competitive. It’s a shame that my whisky budget is allocated elsewhere for the next few months. Damn!

Linkwood 18yo 1989 5cl