Part of Diageo's Special Releases for 2016, this is only the 2nd time Linkwood has been included in the annual releases (the last time was 2008). Linkwood does not have a standard range available as the vast majority of the whisky it produces is used in the Diageo blends (Johnnie Walker), and thus there are very few official bottles available. Matured in refill American oak hogsheads and refill European oak butts that were filled in 1978, only 6,114 bottles are available worldwide. Bottled at cask strength of 50.3%.
Nose: Soft, and takes time to open up, but then slowly fills out to present delicate fresh-fruit notes; a sweet, clean fruit salad including honeydew melon, grape, mandarin zest, apple and pear over a base of crumbly fudge. Gradually it becomes deeper and richer, like fruit salad in syrup; creamier perhaps, with marzipan, vanilla and a trace of sweet liquorice.
Palate: First, a generous, smooth texture: fruity, sweet and sugary overall, then warming and tart, with baked apple in the mid palate. An appetising dryness rapidly develops, with black tea and herbal cough candy offset by rum and raisin ice cream, lime and waxy vanilla.
Finish: Long and warming, with a peppery tingle. Oaky and herbal with dry, coating tannins and a clean, aromatic conclusion; that spice lingers in the aftertaste, which combines milk chocolate and sanded hardwood.