Tragedy Struck! Gordon + MacPhail’s Linkwood 1998 46%

Once upon a time there was a Linkwood that was poured into a bottle in 2012… to make its way from Scotland to a World of Whisky store to a home in Mumbai, India. And then find its way into our glasses in October 2018…

We sampled it blind and here is what we found…

Linkwood 13 year (8 Dec1998 / Jan 2010) Cask No 5014 Refill Sherry Hogshead 46% for World of Whiskies

  • Colour – Very yellow
  • Nose – When first opened it was so fruity – particularly jackfruit, cashew fruit then red fruits… then as strong as it came on, the basket of fruits slipped away… Particularly after the first sip. Instead there was biscuits, cereal notes with hay, grass… more and more it became dusty, musty, woody… after even more time there was a light coconut and even some marshmallow but… something wasn’t quite right….
  • Palate – Sharp, initially fruity, then musty, sour, earthy, bitter, very woody, some spice, quite thin with little body, wet fallen leaves
  • Finish – Very short finish
  • Water – Some found it horrible, bitter vs others finding it became tart with lemons then sweet, the fruit came back with some spice yet was still very musty with dry coconut husks

We struggled with this one… it seemed oddly incomplete or off… something or other wasn’t quite right. Over and over we kept remarking on the peculiar musty element.

With the reveal we were all surprised.

Linkwood.

Gordon & Macphail.

Really?? The character wasn’t in keeping with our past experience with Linkwood whiskies and certainly not Gordon & Macphail bottles.

And that is when our host revealed that the reason he served this single malt from a lovely decanter was the cork had crumbled completely. He further shared he had purchased this years ago – likely not long after it was released in 2012.

It seemed that tragedy had struck. What could have once been a fine dram was given no favours by being stored in a Mumbai cupboard for years. There actually have been studies on the impact of storage conditions on whisky bottles. Mumbai’s heat isn’t kind to bottles… and this seems to have happened in this case. Sigh….

What about other Linkwood experiences?

Our original tasting group continued in our “classic” evening with two other Scottish single malts:

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Vacu vin for Whisky?

I’d like to let you into a little secret, there is a reasonably reliable way to reduce oxidation….

It is a trick borrowed from the world of wine, intended for use over short periods of time.

The principle is simple – a vacuum pump extracts air from the open bottle to re-seal with a rubber stopper. A “click” sound tells you when you have reached the optimum vacuum level. The vacuum slows down the oxidation process which makes it possible to enjoy your wine again at a later date.

Case in point? That gorgeous Laphroaig 21 year commemorating the opening of Heathrow’s Terminal 5…

It may have been opened 1.5 years, yet when we re-cracked open the bottle after our Dream Drams with Malt Maniac Krishna Nakula, it gave us a most rewarding gift – a burst of delicious aromas of sweet ham, bacon glazed with maple syrup, black forest ham, tobacco on the palate and a lovely long finish.

After this “proof of concept” many of those attending the evening went out an ordered vacu vin‘s in hope of preserving the quality of their precious drams, reducing the effects of oxidation.

Including one more from our Dream Drams evening, the Aultmore 5 year whose cork cracked!

PS – I got my vacu vin through Amazon… and no this isn’t a paid plug!!!

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