Reviews of affordable whiskies with some entertaining tales along the way…
Single Cask Nation is an independent bottler of Scotch whisky and other spirits. Based in the USA, it began as a membership society where individuals could indulge their passion for unique, single cask spirits. In 2017, however, the brand cast its net a little further by making some products available to non-members through select whisk(e)y stores and bars. Further expansion occurred when the Single Cask Nation launched a new range, aimed at markets beyond the US. I’m devoting this week to sampling some of the latest batch of drams that are available throughout the “rest of the world”.
The second offering comes from Linkwood, a Diageo-owned Speyside distillery. Linkwood dates from 1881 and spends much of its time producing whisky for blended Scotch brands. Official bottlings are rare but many casks have found their way to independent bottlers, allowing whisky lovers the chance to become acquainted with a fine single malt.
This Single Cask Nation bottling was distilled in 2010 and matured for 12 years in a first-fill French oak hogshead. It’s bottled at 55.2% and there are 270 bottles available.
For part one of this series visit here
Single Cask Nation Linkwood 12-year-old 2010
*Full disclosure: the whisky featured in this article was sent to me free of charge. As always, I will strive to give an honest opinion on the quality of the dram and the value for money it represents.
Smell: Oaky and rich. Deep, dark caramel and toffee with lots of woody, wintery spice notes like cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. It’s even a wee bit reminiscent of paprika. Vanilla pods. Runny honey. After some time in the glass, I notice some lighter, fresher, fruity notes – apples, pears and lemon. Like the dominance of the cask had subsided a little and the spirit was starting to come through. It even developed a nice underlying maltiness.
Taste: Intense arrival full of sweet toffee and wood spice. The liquid itself has a lovely texture that clings to the palate. Towards the back, the initial oakiness develops into apple and citrus notes but it never loses the fullness of flavour. A decent sprinkling of pepper throughout and a wee touch of malt, even dry grass, comes through in the finish.
Thoughts: Very much a cask-led offering from Single Cask Nation but it doesn’t fall into the trap of being one-dimensional – the character of the spirit is still in there and the cask intensity pairs well with the weight of the liquid. I often find lighter whiskies are too easily swamped by such an active cask but this Linkwood has the backbone for it. The end result feels like a whisky that was drained from its cask at the exact right time. Any longer and it could easily have gone too far. As it stands, it’s a rather lovely drop with bags of flavour and a luxurious mouthfeel. I’m actually struggling to think of a dram you could compare it to – it’s quite a unique wee mouthful.
Price: £62 is actually a very reasonable price for a 12-year-old single cask in today’s market, especially such a distinctive one. A great buy.
For more on Single Cask Nation visit https://singlecasknation.com/
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