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Undisclosed Distillery (52)

Linkwood 40yo (1946/1986, Gordon&MacPhail for Sestante, 40%)

And here it’s the second ultra-aged bottling from the Tasting Facile: this is Linkwood from 1946, bottled 40 years later (!) by Gordon & MacPhail for Sestante (read Ernesto Mainardi). We know that Linkwood was one of the first distilleries to have commercial relations with G&M (they both were from Elgin), so much that over the years the company owned by Urquhart family bottled even a 1938 Linkwood. During the 80s Sestante selected various distillery’s casks (at least 12) through G&M, always labelling them with a distillery image e and a violet edge; only the color of the band behind the wording ‘Linkwood’ changes. There is another 40 yo bottled in the 80s, but this comes without any vintage. But enough talk now, color is coppery.  

Schermata 2014-10-16 alle 11.37.58

N: It shows a touching strength, vibrancy, intensity and richness that you almost bend the legs. Time does seem to stand still, without steeling anything. In the foreground we find a majestic and fragrant fruit, especially tropical: maracuja, kiwi and lime; but also fragrant strawberries, peach in syrup, pineapple. This side is further developed by a fragrant creaminess, between the custard and the lemon cream; Do you know fruit cakes? Warm brioches and sugary, in a context of great generosity. There is also something else, perhaps a proof of the forty-years aging: a warm, very aromatic patina of wood and a menthol touch. There is some kind of smoky scent, in the end more toasted than smoked. There is a fragrant and unusual side that we would not be able to define: Aromatic paper of Eritrea? Then raisins, marron glacé (just the aromatic whiff that invests us when we open a bag).   

P: the body is perfect, he has lost nothing neither in compactness nor in intensity. Compared to the nose, it looses only a little of that enveloping creaminess, while retaining – and persistently proposing them – the more acidic and fruity notes, together with a remarkable vegetable maltosity. So, after an attack embellished with a delicate but fantastic shade of wax (this was unexpected!), here it is a sweet and sour tropicality (still maracuja as the main suggestion), with notes of sweetened tea and yellow fruit: unripe apricot? A slightly metallic note, but less than Serge records, which we see as a little alcohol excess, an extra biting nuance. 

F: it is only apparently done, but in reality it lasts longly and almost hidden, with very clean malty and vegetal notes and toasted shades.

It’s fantastic, even more cogent than the Talisker, if possible; the bombastic creaminess and the immense joy of the fruit are impressive. 40 years of wood and 30 more years in a bottle didn’t make a single scratch to the “car body”, and the engine also runs at full speed and roars with an elegance that is very rare today. We like to think that the quality of the malt makes the difference, a malt distilled while Europe was waking up from the nightmare of Nazism: it woke up feeling thirsty, it seems. So here we are: 91/100 is the right compromise between a panic nose and a ‘simply’ very good palate. Mamma mia, what a Tasting! 

Recommended soundtrack: Mike Oldfield – Foreign Affair.

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