Going through my tasting notes I just realized that yesterday’s 39.99 and the 39.92 are both ex bourbon hogsheads distilled in 1990. The 39.99 was distilled in April 1990 and the 39.92 was distilled in October 1990 and was exclusive to the Canadian market.
Linkwood is a distillery that plays a part in many of Diageo’s blends, but chiefly in Johnny Walker and White Horse, and is considered to be a blender’s dream for its fresh grassy and fruity flavors. This is a whisky which has benefited from a long fermentation and a lot of copper contact, producing that gentle yet fruity whisky. Being mainly a blender’s malt, Diageo only has the Flora and Fauna 12 year old, and Gordon and MacPhail have a semi-official Linkwood 15, aged in G&M’s own sherry casks.
Scotch Malt Whisky Society 39.92 “Dessert Wine and a Smoking Jacket” – Linkwood 23, outturn of 226 (49.5% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Dark amber, slow and thin legs.
Nose: Floral and sweet, spearmint, sweet white wine, and sweet spices, including clove and nutmeg. You also get notes of pound cake.
With time, the nutmeg comes out strongly with hints of the older, dusty sherry like fruit.
Palate: Very winey not unlike sangria with a lot of peppery spice on the palate. This is a real spice bomb.
Linger: Bitter-sweet down the center of the tongue, nutmeg and sweet paprika in a slightly mouth drying linger.
I’d classify this one more on the spicy than on the fruity side, were I the SMWS. Somehow both this casks and the 39.99 got that gorgeous dusty quality I associate more with older sherry casks than with bourbon casks, but there it is.
Both these expressions are really nice, but the 39.99 is the more stunning of the two.