Dewar Rattray Linkwood Tasting Notes

Posted: September 9, 2011 in Linkwood, Scotch Whisky A-G

A.D Rattray Linkwood 2001 (13 year old) 56.9%

Bourbon Cask 2992/ Dist: 2001 Btl: 2014/ Tasted: Sept 2015

Now, that’s a dense nose! Heavy toffee and barley with plenty of herbal notes. It’s damn tight and very wood dominated.

The palate is very toffee’d and toasty with hints of herbs and barley, but unsurprisingly its all oak! Good length with a touch of citrus coming through on the finish and lingering herbal notes.

With water there isn’t much change, although the aromas are reminiscent of a young grain whisky, but that’s probably more to do with the oak. On the palate there is a little more citrus and barley input and a touch of spice on the finish although it bitters quite a bit at the end.

Dewar Rattray Linkwood 1989 (18 year old) 58.7%

Sherry Cask 3196/ Dist: 1989 Btl: 2007/ Tasted: May 2008

Ah yes, definitely without a shadow of a doubt a fresh Sherry butt! (The colour kind of gives that away). This is a real monster, but immaculately clean with not an off note in sight. As expected there’s a huge dollop of sherry fruit and spice along with notes of violets and chocolate followed by a touch of malty/ grassiness, flax(?), pear(?), liquid honey, raisins and dried fruit. Very complex!

The palate is pure Oloroso, quiet leafy and tannic with flavours mirroring the nose along with a hint of coffee (Colombian?) and beeswax. Water brings out that afore mentioned coffee note on the nose along with honied orange fruit and again that leafiness on both nose and palate. This is a very good sherry cask, probably not one for the summer, but if you like it like this, then you’ll love it any time of the year!

Dewar Rattray Linkwood 1983 (25 year old) 53%

Bourbon cask 5711/ Dist: 1983 Btl: 2009/ Tasted: Apr 2009

A dense and obdurate nose. It really takes some time to discern the component aromas as it is so damn fruity; full of impenetrable summer, yellow, squishy fruit, hay and mature honey. Given time a perfumed orange and vanilla note arrives. Unbelievably soft and succulent with a lovely sweetness with a touch of toffee, yet balanced by that classic Linkwood freshness.

On the palate the soft, gentle flavours caress the taste buds with mature yet brittle honey, malt and barley. The alcohol bites on the middle and it finishes with a touch of crystalised fruit and grass. Lively!

A drop of water emphasisies the maturity and straw notes on the nose, but it is on the palate that it weaves some serious alchemy. Up comes the sweetness level and the fruit is now liberally sprinkled in a powdery/ crystalline sugar. The alcohol just about keeps the sweetness in check and pushes it to the edge of the tongue. Rounded and mature but even at this age it still retains a lovely freshness. Amazing length with a sort of grassy/ soda-esque finish.

Dewar Rattray Linkwood 1984 (26 year old) 55.9%

Bourbon Cask 1624/ Dist: 1984 Btl: 2010/ Tasted: Nov 2010

A big, mature herbal honey nose. Deep with a slight old violet note. The oak adds a sawdusty quality as the malt kicks in. A lovely mature honeyedaromas float above a bedrock of oak and brittle barley, but the spirit starts to creak and develops a marc-like overtone.

The palate is pretty thick, chewy and malty as Linkwood can be at this age. Big slabs of honeyare held back by the alcohol with the oak adding a creamy/ milky touch before a combination of the oak and natural caramel flatten out the finish.

With water the nose is more typically Spey, grassy and even a touch gristy. There is less oak and honey now and it seems like it’s only in its mid-teens. The honey does put in an appearance but it’s somewhat reticent. It has a pleasantly spicy finish though. The oak is more prevalent on the palate and the fruit has become a bit over confected and sugary. Its ok, but I’m not completely convinced.

Dewar Rattray Linkwood 1989 (21 year old) 55.8%

Bourbon Cask 7322/ Dist: 1989 Btl: 2011/ Tasted: Aug 2011

Oooh this is a bit of a herbal monster! A very leafy nose of old grass, flax and hemp with no shortage of mature, yet restrained honey and old wood notes. In fact you can almost smell the wood grain! There is also some Armagnac-esque dried fruit, which adds to the aged rancio. Very complex with hints of earth, malt and demarara sugar. Ooh that honey is expanding wonderfully, but it is showing its age with an almost grainy like spirit note in the background and one feels it has been bottled in the nick of time – Good!

The palate is oily and soft opening with some lactose wood notes and honey. The alcohol and tannins build, depositing a multitude of wood flavours – lactones, lignin and bark. A mouth-watering middle leads into a very herbal/ old grass finish with again an almost grainy spirit note. Highly entertaining and wonderfully mature.

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