1953 Linkwood – Gordon & MacPhail’s new Private Collection Ultra – Part 4

Now we reach the final post in the series reviewing the dram I found to be the top of these top drams – the 1953 Linkwood.

Photo Credit: www.mrtattieheid.com

Photo Credit: www.mrtattieheid.com

G&M has a long standing relationship with the distillery, producing a 15 and 25 year old in the “Distillery Label” series, basically a stand in for official bottlings (like the Mortlach 15 and 21) for distilleries that don’t bottle. A notable exception, in both cases, is the Flora and Fauna releases (12 for the Linkwood and 16 for the Mortlach) and a curious three cask strength bottle series of 26 year old Linkwoods finished for 14 years in rum (54.5% ABV), port (56.9% ABV) and sweet red wine (55.5% ABV) 1,260 each, which were released by Diageo in small bottles (50 cl) in 2008 and popping up here and there on auctions.

Stephen Ranking discussing the 1953 Linkwood.

Stephen Ranking discussing the 1953 Linkwood

As I mentioned, each branch of the family chose one cask, and this Linkwood was chosen by Rosemary Rankin and her son, UK Sales Director Stephen Rankin. Like the Strathilsa, this is the oldest bottling of a linkwood, clocking in at 61 years. I’ll admit to being somewaht of a Linkwood fan and this was a special treat for me.


1953 Linkwood, G&M Private Collection Ultra, Cask #279, 55 Bottles in Total (49.4% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Deep bronze, thin and slow legs.

Nose: Furniture polish, dusty library, dried figs, old leather, oak and an old lounge with a faint smoke in the air.

Palate: Smoky sherry, leather, rose water, very dense dark chocolate and spices. Water brings out more of the wood spice and makes it a bit waxy.
Linger: Old tobacco (not stale…old), mouth drying sherry with notes of freshly ground pepper. The finish is long.



I liked this expression best of the four. But honestly, they were all outstanding. So saying “this one is better” is like trying to understand the difference between a 94 and a 94.5 on scoring reviews (yes, this was a jape 😉 )

Obviously, doing these reviews of ‘once in a lifetime’ whiskies is a lot of fun, but they’re novelties. Thus, I’ll be taking a short break from these reviews to focus on more readily available drams.

As for this amazing masterclass (which wasn’t cheap at £70), it was worth every penny and every moment. If there’s one thing I’d do differently, it’s make sure that a masterclass like this ALWAYS start on time or at least be kept to the original length (this one didn’t, and the tastings were rushed), and that company presentations be done between tastings, not before.

We simply didn’t have enough time to enjoy each dram, and these required time, they really do.

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