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.
Bought: Whiskysite, Holland, 16th February 2015
88.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2015
76.56/100 – Whiskybase (average from 27 member votes)
86/100 – Ralfy – His 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!
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!