SMWS Cask 39.95 9yo (61.2%): Today is the first snow day of 2015 in New England... It's white, cold, quiet and absolutely gorgeous on the streets. Perfect day to sip a dram and stay at home. This will be my first review of an SMWS bottling. Since finally I became a member now it definitely won't be the last one. It is a 9 year old single cask Linkwood distilled in May 2004. Known as blenders' favorite Linkwood is one of the major components in Diageo's blends including my personal favorite White Horse. As one of the company's work horses the distillery is famous for their long fermentation process and produces a whopping 5.6 million liters of alcohol annually. Despite of its massive capacity we rarely see official distillery bottlings though. The only one I remember was the 12 year old Flora & Fauna release some years ago. I like the distillery character and trying not to miss independent releases if I can find any. The whisky is aged in a refill ex-bourbon barrel and the cask yielded 221 bottles. Color: Pale, white wine: Aligote. Nose: White jonquils, blood orange, grapefruit and lemon. Wet barley just out of the steeping tank, uncured buckskin and Granny Smith apples. Adding a generous amount of water gives beautiful earthy aromas: Clay, polished hard wood and dried sour cherries. Palate: Hot due to its high abv but strangely and pleasantly warming with vanilla, oak staves and kumquat. Adding water opens it up layer by layer: Irish breakfast tea, brioche, gummi bears and tart herbed lemonade. Poached peaches, apricot tea and more dry oak. Finish: Medium long with sweetened lemon juice, subtle white pepper dusting and brown sugar syrup. Overall: That's why I like Linkwood a lot... This distillery never lets you down. It is a bold, warming and meaty dram. A perfect winter treat. The bottling delivers all the beautiful notes of an ex-bourbon aging and more. Great start with my SMWS adventure I have to say. Highly recommended for ex-bourbon fans like me.