Cadenhead’s Linkwood Claret Cask 24yo | 52.8% | Speyside
, Scotland founded: 1821 | active
For more detailed mapping of the distilleries in the area from our whisky map page, use this link
Meet #59 | 31/01/15 | Hosted by Lucy
It was Bordeaux all the way for this meeting, with Speyside being 'married' with the casks of two famous wines: It was not only a battle between Linkwood and Aberlour, but also Claret and Sauternes. Will these marriages be true love, or a desperate legal scramble to enforce the pre-nup?
The Orient Express, now struggling to retain passenger numbers, has resorted to transporting freight alongside its dwindling clientele. As the once majestic engine chugs into the station, it begins to reveal its cargo of the world’s exotica: Macadamia nuts, sultanas, fermenting papaya (it was a long journey), under-ripe mashed banana (or not long enough, but bumpy – no Pendolinos here), pickled lemons (finally, some planning!), pine sap, cayenne pepper and apricots. Perhaps connected to this almost dreamy set of imports, it smelled literally incredible - incredulity wafted up like smoke from the cast iron funnel. In fact, the nose was so incredulous to some that it began speaking in tongues, although one meekly attempted to counter with, "yeah, it's nice". In the dining car, afters were served: Golden syrup cake, sticky toffee pudding and two glasses of rum. Or for those forced to take seats next to boxes of produce, all they got were Granny Smith apples and a lemon, with a beaker of cider vinegar. There’s still a large modicum (magnicum?) of pride in this service for the staff, and as soon as the food’s scoffed and the drinks quaffed, it's all hands to the pump (trains have pumps, right?) with the Mr Sheen - next stop, Cleansville.
We're off the train now, and getting out the tobacco and latex.. and some cough syrup for later. It gets a little meaty for a moment as bacon and the rather gloriously-descriptive 'cat pâté' suggests. There are grape skins and candied peel, tangerine and the super sweet inside of a blackcurrant cough sweet (Locket) after it's warmed in your pocket for a while (Pocket Locket). Fudge and carnation milk also allude to sweetness, but from here on in things get dry. Really dry. Drier than a desert. Almost hints at a classic Springbank before the dryness destroys it, turning into hydrochloric acid and the chewing of a pine needle. Turning sour and chemical at the end, any hints of Claret are dried and soured into Yew tree berries and cumin.
| We flew the flag of Bordeaux with these babies (2 photos)
Finish & Comments
The flavours on the finish, although a little unusual, sound pleasant enough: flambéed bananas with brandy, marmalade, salt liquorice. A bit of burnt rubber (OK, that probably wasn't a glowing compliment), a metal spoon, cough medicine. It's also turning a bit spicy, in the form of some tongue-tingling fire ants. It's long, long, long, long, long, very long, long time. Oh, and short. With some nice oesophageal burn to wash it all down.
Although it was commented to be "better with water" and "very interesting", it's hard to see those in a positive light when it was also summarised as "a nun's chuff". Are pine needles dangerous to chew on? What's a Yew tree? We knew some of the answers, but this whisky left us with more questions: "How did this happen?" and "huh?". To be fair, it had its fans, but was widely felt to be too dry and a bit challenging. And to finish with the finish, "yours is quite a long one.." was said with absolutely no innuendo or immature sniggering to be found.
We've always scored out of 10 in our group (see number in red box, below), with scores regularly given across that spectrum. The value out of 100 below is adjusted to the scale most commonly used for whisky reviews, to allow for better comparison.
73 / 100
Detailed scores (out of 10)
Tasting Game Points (out of 6)
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