Tag Archives: 26yo

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.


Glen Grant 26-year-old (SMWS 9.94)

Bought: SMWS, 30th October 2015

84/100 – Whiskybase (average from 4 member votes)

As I waited for the arrival of my SMWS membership pack I allowed myself to dream about the three 10cl samples I would receive; perhaps something rare, interesting or from an unusual distillery? The society used to send out packs containing four 10cl bottles and I spotted some at auction that included Macallan and Laphroaig. Perhaps I’d get a Highland Park or, God forbid, an Ardbeg! When the pack arrived it contained a Glen Grant, Caol Ila and Arran…..{tumbleweed}. It was like hoping for an X-box at Christmas only to receive an apple, pencil and a pair of socks.

Don’t get me wrong, Glen Grant, Coal Ila and Arran are all excellent distilleries that can produce fantastic whisky but they’re a bit, well, common. Practically every independent bottler’s website I’ve visited in the last 2 years has had all three of these distilleries available, often several versions. I was hoping the SMWS would be a little less predictable, especially having reduced the membership pack down to three bottles. Forgive me, I’m transcending into a grumpy old man! The male equivalent of menopause. I will chop the apple into the Glen Grant, stir the Coal Ila with my pencil and wear the socks whilst drinking the Arran. There, I’ve spiced up the experience!

Although this Glen Grant isn’t in the Whisky Bible 2016, the author includes 3 examples by the SMWS. A 12yo scores 89/100, a 16yo scores 94.5/100 and the one closest in age to mine, a 25yo, scores a lowly 79/100. Thankfully that doesn’t mean my 26yo is likely to be sub-80 and 84/100 on Whiskybase is a very reasonable mark, albeit from only 4 votes. One reviewer includes the official tasting notes for my dram, which are “sweetened coffee with chocolate brazils, stem ginger and sour cherries. Well handled leather, exotic woodiness and raspberry jam. Figs, date syrup, rich balsamic then creamy mint chocolate.” I think the addition of an apple could work well!

Glen Grant 26yo SMWS 9.94 10cl

Glen Spey 1988 26-year-old

Bought: Bartels Whisky, 6th October 2015

0/100 – Whiskybase (no rating yet)

With only 35 bottles of this Glen Spey produced, it’s hardly surprising there are no reviews for it on Whiskybase, or anywhere! But I’ve tasted it so brace yourself for my opinion! Bartels Whisky sent me a sample as part of my previous order. I’d never tried a Glen Spey before but wow, what a surprise! It’s just as well I’m not a member of Whiskybase or I’d be rating it 95/100 and causing the admin to think I work for Bartels Whisky. Not that there are any bottles of this Glen Spey left for them to promote but I certainly rate them as an excellent independent bottler.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any formal tasting notes for this Glen Spey but my overall impression about it was “typical Speyside flavour” but with a fantastic spring-grass freshness that I’d never encountered in a whisky before. The finish was long and left me wanting more. It must be Glen Spey season because Morrison & Mackay, another independent bottler, also sent me a 23yo to try, which had similar qualities but a bit more muted than the 26yo.

This Glen Spey has taught me that there are still some surprises to be had and the more obscure distilleries are well worth trying.

Here are the tasting notes from Master of Malt:

Nose: Buttery shortbread, ginger biscuits and a good dollop of apple-sauce.

Palate: Citrus peels (think lemon and lime in equal measures), more gingerbread, a touch of caramel.

Finish: Quite long, packed with Rolos and Toffee Crisp bars.

Here’s ‘The Good Dram Show’ on You Tube with their review of this Glen Spey, the second of a series of 6 single malts from Bartels Whisky (Sept 2015):

Glen Spey 1988 26yo 70cljpg

Highland Park 26-year-old

Bought – about 2000 from an online source I can’t remember.

Highland Park has always been a family favourite, so it was an obvious present option at the start of the millenium when uncles began reaching 90th birthdays. I found this particular ‘rare’ batch online for £40, which seemed very reasonable 12 years ago. Whisky reviews were in short supply back then so it was a bit of a shot-in-the-dark. Thankfully it hit the bullseye and is a very nice tipple. I recently saw a bottle from the same cask (but with a more fancy label) go for £100 at auction. It’s a shame I’d not invested in a Macallan or I could have been swapping it for a Ferrari by now! Thankfully I didn’t buy this bottle as an alternative to a pension plan. It’s better for sipping than selling!

Ratings – none that I’ve found but it’s VERY nice in my opinion.

Highland Park 26yo 70cl