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Linkwood, 15-Year-Old, Gordon & Macphail (Scotland)
No doubt 2013 will bring its fair share of expensive and exotic new whisky releases, but sipping a dram or two of Linkwood bottled by the ever-dependable Gordon & MacPhail over the festive season led us to the decision to nominate this low profile but perennially excellent single malt from the long-established Elgin bottlers and retailers. Linkwood was founded in 1821, and is one of Gordon & MacPhail’s local distilleries, being situated on the south-eastern outskirts of the Moray capital. It is owned by Diageo plc and plays a major role in the Johnnie Walker family of blends, but is elusive as a single malt. Gordon & MacPhail has a long-standing relationship with the distillery, and bottles its whisky in the ‘Distillery Labels’ series. Linkwood 15-year-old has been matured in refill sherry casks and presents a nose of sweet sherry, vanilla, milk chocolate, sultanas, candied peel and a hint of oak. Lots of spicy sherry, glace cherries and caramel on the palate. Medium to long in the nutty finish, with buttery fudge notes always present, and finally, stem ginger. A lovely, sophisticated dram for traditionalists that slips down easily yet has lots of character and is extremely well priced. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, Ł36.00, specialist whisky merchants.

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