Old & Rare Heritage, Linkwood 1989 Aged 30 Years, aged and bottled by Hunter Laing
Another outstanding whisky from Hunter Laing's Old & Rare Platinum series, this single malt was distilled at Linkwood back in 1989. It spent three whole decades in a single cask, until it was bottled at cask strength in 2019. Just 239 bottles of the well-aged Speysider were released at 50.4% ABV, complete with a very shiny wooden presentation case.
Nose : A great start: soggy leather, sour oak you can only get by maturing something in a refill cask for >20 years, and vanilla ice cream, the only kind of vanilla to be met with cheers of joy in a whisky context. Some cut pears.
Water makes it lose focus and become a little too quiet for my liking.
Taste : The peat's rough, even though there's barely any of it, and so is the texture of the whisky. Dry oak, a bit of cider vinegar, leather, some faint lemons, and sadly, no oiliness or fruit from the distillate. Austere indeed. Water opens it up a bit but it never truly develops on the promises the first nosing made.
Finish : As on the tongue, with a bit of unsalted peanuts at the end. The pepper takes quite a while to sink into my gums.
This distillery by the banks of the river Lossie is every bit the idyll of a country distillery, with its woodlands and resident population of Swans. Legend has it that longtime manager Roderick Mackenzie thought the environment so important to the taste of Linkwood, he forbade the removal of spiders’ webs from the rafters in case the character were to change. Great care is still taken to maintain its high standards, though the cobwebs have been removed.