Apr 19, 2013

Old Masters Linkwood 15yo...

Old Masters Cask Strength Selection Linkwood 15yo (59.2%): I remember liking other Linkwood expressions I tasted before but I don't have any detailed tasting notes from those. They come pretty rare as single malt bottlings and the label "Old Masters" is also new to me, never had a release from them before. Actually a perfect combination for me and of course Joe from Federal Wine and Spirits knew exactly how to catch me with this mystery bottle. He pulled it from his vault when we were having one of our long conversations in the shop and I jumped on it... So, the juice is distilled in 1993, matured in an ex-bourbon barrel numbered 1609 and bottled in cask strength from a single barrel expression in 2008. Funny fact, the back label on the bottle is misplaced with their Caol Ila release from the same line and has tasting notes from that bottle. Color: Bright, pale yellow gold. Nose: Sweet, perfumy, mouth watering malt. Agressive with Anjou pears, pineapple, Ataulfo mangos aromas. Adding water chills this fella down a little. I can get now confectioners sugar, vanilla, dried but not toasted oak staves and water in a Sigg bottle. Palate: Pretty hot without water. Big and malty. Imagine all the fruits listed above dusted with cinnamon. Water adds some creaminess and an unexpected sourness to the palate. Don't know how to describe it, maybe spoiled milk or aged camembert cheese. Finish: A (tiny) bit shorter than I expected. Like a young spirit. The burn of alcohol lingers but all other fruity and malty notes fade out way before. Overall: I think it is the first Linkwood I tasted matured exclusively in ex-bourbon casks. From the beginning to the end it reminded me the cask strength Bladnoch expressions I tasted before but didn't come very close to that level. I have a feeling that it could end up being a great whisky but somewhere along the line it missed something. All the good things I listed don't come quite together at the end. Don't get me wrong though, I enjoyed it very much but it's me. I do like this kind of odd casks. I believe sometime oddity can make a whisky very unique...