a little catching up.
Linkwood 25 year (Gordon & MacPhail)
Strong heathery nose and maybe a whiff of brine and even smoke. This is stern stuff for Linkwood, I'd like a touch more roundness, but quite active dans la bouche and plenty of flavour. Only 43%. 6-7
Glenfarclas 25 year
I think this is Connoisseur's Choice, but not sure, will correct if/when I find out. I've been one of those rare few who hasn't taken to Glenfarclas in the past, maybe finding it just too polished and with not enough real interest. But that's not the case here. This is lovely, with equal parts salt, sweet and velvet definition going down the throat. Has class and sublime-ness about it. 9.
1975 Benrinnes 34 year (Signatory)
I do like Benrinnes, but this is an aggressive version of this malt, for sure. Herbs and some grassy and peppery spiciness too. Bites in the front and then expands in the middle, replays with glints of toffee, I think. I like how authoritative it is, but I also am more used to some subtlety and different levels. Call it an 8.
1966 25 year Aberlour (Lombard)
I picked this up on, I believe, Gavin Smith's recommendation. He sure recommended right. This is about as distaff a cousin to the A'Bunadh as you're going to get. You will think you've died, gone to heaven, come back down to earth for a brief visit and gone back up to heaven. This has a fantastic fruit-edged nose to tints of butterscotch and brine. And it's a dream in the mouth, just swaddles it and cozies right up to the cheeks in such a gentle yet quietly dramatic way. I won't be sharing this with that many people. 10, one of the best I've had in a long, long time.
David, sorry I didn't provide any thoughts to your question about choices on malts. I agree on Brian's take on Glen Grant--if it's under 30 years, don't bother. Glenmorangie can be enjoyable, but you'd be best to try all the finishes and decide if any one of them takes your fancy. HP 18 is probably the best of your lot---IIRC, the malt is made with a blend of years, but 18 is the lowest year, can sometimes have 22-23 year stuff in there. Haven't had the A'bunadh in about 3 years now, I used to like the previous batches, though I think my last one clocked in at 64.7% or so