A Fine Christmas Malt (54.2%, The Whisky Exchange 2019)

The Whisky Exchange’s Christmas malt is now a tradition, and last year saw the release of a 10 year-old Speyside whisky. The label doesn’t say, but it comes from Linkwood. Its reception wasn’t quite as enthusiastic as it could’ve been – the fact that its predecessor in 2018 was a 17 year-old Glenfarclas may have had something to do with it. This Linkwood is also not heavily sherried – something a lot of whisky drinkers associate with Christmas – so overall it was an unassuming release that went by relatively unnoticed and took a few months to sell out.

Nose: Sweet – a lot of icing sugar and vanilla – and fruity, with lemons and grapefruit. There’s a mineral note too – chalk. It’s mainly a light and easy profile, but the balance between sweetness and minerality is spot on.

Palate: This is easy to drink even at 54.2%. There’s more citrus on the palate – on the Balblair/Bladnoch/Glencadam axis of orchard fruit. Sweet breakfast cereal, green apples. Water makes it grassier, but the icing sugar sweetness is never far away.

Finish: Long, chalky and citrussy.

Comments: I do like fresh, fruity, natural whiskies, so this is right up my alley. It may not have those Christmas cake and stewed fruit notes, but there is a confectionery sweetness that feels quite festive in its own right. An enjoyable dram for any day of the year.

Score: 85/100

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