Monday, May 16, 2022

Linkwood, Exclusive Malts, Benromach, HP “Victory”, Speymhor; The Three + Three

Three Samples… Three bottles… Thanks for samples to friends Charu and Logan where applicable.

Linkwood 22, Cadenhead 48.8%
Cadenhead bottling of Linkwood distilled in 1995. I do seem to enjoy Linkwood’s flavor palate profile but let’s double check. The nose is lemon curd pie, literal citrus and vanilla curd. It’s uncanny. Malty. somewhat mellow ex-bourbon palate with good balance between wood spice and sugar in the mouth. Reminds me of a very mellow pear/apple skins with a tiny bit of spice. Quite short, but typical aftertaste here leaving a whisper of baking spice on the tongue. Overall: Enjoyable but unremarkable… This cask’s character was mostly spent on it’s previous run… while not at the level of Old Malt Casks this is somewhere between that and Old Particulars on intensity. Value: N/A
Score: B+

Exclusive Malts 23, Blend Ex-Sherry, 50%
A blend from Exclusive Malts line from 1993 in ex-sherry casks. Interesting and complex, sherry nose that is somewhat sour but leans towards the cologne notes. Sherry, malt, spice on the palate, not too sherried not too spicy not too much alcohol, this is extremely well balanced. Quite ‘meaty’ palate actually or perhaps dark chocolate galore. Waves and waves of chili peppers in the solidly medium-long aftertaste that sticks around. Overall: Really enjoying this one actually I can totally have this as a daily drinker and it leans easily into the contemplative pours too if I pay attention to complexity. Value: At $139.99 this is a solid value nowadays, but was somewhat expensive when it was bottled.
Score: A

Exclusive Malts 40, Blend Ex-Sherry, 42.9%
Vatting of things from 1977… Sure, why not! Also my own age so don’t mind if I celebrate a bit. Nose is very funky sherry, bordering on wood shavings or heavily oaked Armagnacs (looking at you Pouchegu!) Actually this is quite reminds of those woody old armagnacs from Domaine De Pouchegu. Vanilla, very dark, very old wood, flowers and dried fruits. Whelp the palate delivers what nose promises covering it into layers and layers of milk chocolate. Long, initially slightly peppery, mouthwatering aftertaste follows leaving sweet vanilla leftovers in the mouth. Overall: Okay this is a Pouchegu in a malt bottle. I’m loving it. Unfortunately it’s ever so slightly under proofed… If this was 46% this would be a slam dunk. As it is, this is as solid of an A as I’ve given out… Value: N/A Only on auction though not too expensive based on the history from few years back. Good luck getting it for less than about 1k nowadays though.
https://www.whiskyba … usive-blend-1977-cwc
Score: A

Benromach 11, Batch 1, 58.2%
My first Benromach review here… This is batch 1 cask proof distilled in 2007 and bottled in 2018. A rare peated Speyside Single Malt Scotch whiskey. But highland peat here so think sweet wood smoke. Nose is lightly toasted nuts with small iodine addition or perhaps old campfire smoke. Palate is great, sweet & nutty, slightly savory flavors with a layer of lively wood smoke in the background. Think texas BBQ burnt bits, or dry brisket. It does lean towards drying leather a bit over time. Still easy drinking, cannot believe this is nearly 60% abv! Aftertaste… just like a good Texas bbq in my mouth. Almost uncanny. Overall: Situational but oh so delicious this is BBQ lover’s dream pour. A minor nit here that I would wish that the aftertaste was a little longer or a little more complex. Of note that this is quite enjoyable for me and I don’t actually like peated whiskeys. Just a smidgeon below A-range for here, I wish it was a tiny bit sweeter. Value: K&L been trying to get rid of these for $39.99. Probably best deal in Scotch in a while… At $80 regular.. is still a solid pickup for a cask proof bottle that’s no slouch.
https://www.klwines. … whisky-750ml/1452946
Score: B+

Highland Park 13, Victory, 64.5%
Another Highland Park (I seem to review a lot of these)… This time a Single Cask Series from Total Wine (at least it’s sitting on the shelf there nowadays)… Named Victory, this is one of 608 bottles, distilled in 2004 and bottled in 2018 from a refill sherry butt #6481 and of course with quite a fiery proof. The nose is sherry galore. I cannot believe this is a refill of sherry, smoke is almost un-noticeable from nosing it as it integrates into sherry so well. The palate is sweet and slightly smoked candies, the sherry wood really shines here. Aftertaste is spices galore, with the spices and little smoke hang out for a while reminiscent of a light cigar experience and finishing up with some vanilla creamer and coffee notes. Overall: I quite like this combination actually. The proof is a little fiery for some but otherwise the experience is solid. Sweet and smoky is the name of the game without much complication and it delivers. Value: I’ve gotten it in a trade for about $120 to my door which is super solid. Total Wine has these sitting on the shelf at $209 which is a horrible price for these… Get it on clearance or something hope they give up on actually selling these.
Score: A-

Speymhor 38, Blend, 46%
A blend from 1978, aged 38 years. I’ve opened it for the birthday special pour. There’s definitely some sherry in there though overall it’s light brown, almost reddish color. The nose is quite funky, somewhat sulfuric and nearly sour, yet full of perfume. The palate leaves me in a tough position because it’s really tough to describe. Meaty, salty, sweet, oaky, little bit of sherry spices and generally a bouquet of spices are fighting for dominance here. It’s kinda like a weird BBQ without the smoke notes. The aftertaste is very complex, finally with vanilla custard sweetness coming though followed by peppers and some very dark mocca notes, coffee beans and chocolate together and even some tobacco. Overall: I really want to enjoy it… and it is enjoyable but it’s not quite what I expected out of the bottle and neither does it hit that high note for me of ‘I want every bottle of this I’m willing to afford’. A solid and very complicated drinker that is perhaps too funky for a novice and is definitely one to subvert expectations even for someone that’s experienced with whisky. Value: This was $180 from K&L and honestly it’s worth it for the uniqueness. But likely not more than 1+backup.
Full story:
Score: A-

Scoring Breakdown: https://www.aerin.or … age=scores_breakdown