Merry Christmas everyone and thanks for coming along this year for the 2nd edition of our Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar. It’s been a really fun time for Cindy and I, and we hope that you have found new experiences and diversified your palate for this wonderful drink.
As mentioned a few times we (insert I) overspent a little on the whiskies for this edition and one main contributor to that is todays dram from Samaroli. Having been aged for it’s entire life in lightly toasted new American Oak it will be a unique experience for almost all of you.
This is probably the oldest expression available in the market today that has been aged in this way. I am really looking forward to seeing how much vibrant but complex fruit we will find
Linkwood is a well known distillery owned by whisky giant Diageo. It was founded in 1891 (Linkwood A) and a second distillery was built in 1971 (Linkwood B). Linkwood was closed briefly during the second World War and was again mothballed by Diageo between 1985 and 1990. Today’s whisky comes just before that period and was distilled at Linkwood A. Again like a lot of diageo owned distilleries most of the Linkwood production is used for Johnnie Walker and White Horse along with many other blends that buy it on contract. Apart from the 12 year old in the Fauna and Flora series there are also other releases available under the proprietary Diageo label.
Samaroli Linkwood 1984 – 30 Years Old aged in a new American oak barrel cask number 5297 and bottled at 45% ABV. There is a little confusion over if this is a 31 Year Old whisky. We erred on the side of caution and claimed it as 30.
Colour: The lightest 30 year old whisky I have ever seen. Even knowing the background behind the aging process I was still shocked when I first laid eye’s on it. If I was in the bottling hall with knowledge I would be thinking that a mistake was made and a much younger whisky was bottled in it’s place. A mix of 14k and white gold with a bright sparkle.
Nose: Some subtle smoke, honey glazed pear, a whiff of fresh earthy peat in the background. A zesty quality of organic lemon tart with a dusting of icing sugar. Quince jelly like nana used to make. So much going on here I could just sit here for ages.
Palate: Underpinned by the softest of peat smoke there is heather which is a floral note of a most famous Scottish flower over used a lot for Scotch whisky descriptions. One that I seldom write about unless I can truly pick it up which I can here in lovely waves. The wildflower honey and poached pear intertwine with the soft lazy smoke and oh so subtle peat.
Finish: An underlining of fresh vanilla bean finally gives evidence of the new American oak. The oak treatment is so understated after 30/31 years it still seems so young and fresh. The stamp of aging proof is the depth of layering and complexity. 45% is just right for this whisky sending a blanket of warmth down to the heart. The pear and touch of lemon come back in bursts while the light honey note holds everything together.
Such a delightful whisky and my personal favorite this year. I could just sit and play with this for hours.
Not a dram to be thrown back or consumed after something bold and heavy. If you are lucky enough to get one of only 18 bottles available this is one to keep and savour. My suggestion would be to employ the marble technique (blog #60) to keep this precious bottle for years to come (if you can stand not to drink it faster).
A few bottles went to Denmark and are selling there for about $ 860 CAD. You will find this Samaroli Linkwood for around $ 730.00 here which is a bargain.
Here are the only retailers that have this amazing dram available:
Last year on Christmas Day Samaroli again had the throne with their 33 Year Old Blended Malt that was by far the favorite whisky as voted by owners of the 1st edition calendar. You can read all about it here… Blog #57
Joshua Hatton has done an amazing job keeping up with all the blogging for this years edition and Cindy and I want to extend our sincere appreciation for all his hard work (it’s a tough job and someone has to do it and Joshua did it extremely well). You can read his last blog on this years edition HERE
Along with your wax dipped custom bottle of Linkwood you will all have found a wee little Christmas card. Please jump in and vote for your favorite 3 whiskies for a chance to win a 3rd edition calendar.
Last year in the 1st Edition every single whisky in the calendar was voted as somebody’s favourite. I cannot receive any more thanks than that knowing that there was a taste for everyone.
Thank you all so much for supporting our tiny little company, Secret Spirits. Cindy and I are already planning for the 3rd edition and will be in Scotland early February working through the arduous task of tasting the potential line up.
It has been an honor and pleasure bringing this experience to you again this year. Cindy and I both wish you and your family the very best this Christmas season and into what we hope will be an amazing 2016 for everyone.
As we did at the launch party, we raise our glasses and toast Christmas day and the journey’s end of the 2nd edition.
Jonathan and Cindy