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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

June 11, 2015


More Bowmore and we're done

With this very last Bowmore session (this month, ha ha), we’ll pick it up around where we stopped yesterday, that is to say in the early 1990s. And the pirates of Cadenhead are on again…

Bowmore 22 yo 1992/2014 (50.8%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 204 bottle)

Bowmore 22 yo 1992/2014 (50.8%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 204 bottle) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: starts with brine and sawdust, which is an unusual combo. The smoke’s a little ‘flat’ and the lemon’s not that zesty and vivid, and yet it’s a pretty big one. A V8 firing on seven cylinders, I’d say, but water may change that. With water: hessian and old potato bags in an old basement. See what I mean? And damp chalk, a rather light smoke, touches of fresh nuts, broken branches, bark… You may add one caper and half a herring. Mouth (neat): same first feelings, there’s an oaky mattness, somehow, but this time it’s quicker to become sharper and zestier. But there’s also this feeling of eating cigar ashes, charcoal, and plain coal. With water: ah yes, the fruits are coming out, one after the other, and they’re all sprinkled with mint extracts. Lemons, grapefruits, plantains… Finish: good length. The mint became camphory and eucalyptussy (!!), which I enjoy. Smoky vanilla in the aftertaste. Comments: a different one, perhaps a little milder, and yet it’s big, and yet it’s lighter, and yet… SGP:565 - 87 points.

Bowmore 25 yo (50.1%, The Whisky Exchange, retro label, 2014)

Bowmore 25 yo (50.1%, The Whisky Exchange, retro label, 2014) Three stars A funny label, this one, some kind of older ‘oval’ Caol Ila with some kind of old Bowmore lettering. And why not? This is most probably late 1980s vintage(s), so let’s be careful, there might be lavenders and violets back on the prowl… Colour: straw. Nose: yaaah! As an example of that style, it’s perfect. Orange bonbons, Parma violets, lavender ice cream (a trendy thing in Provence, but mainly British tourists like that… wait, that may explain a few things about these Bowmores ;-))… Then ink and chalk. New plastic pouch at the supermarket (well where they still use those). With water: doesn’t swim too well, gets very chalky/inky. Mouth (neat): not that bad, not that bad – and even Saint Columba of Iona knows I’m not a fan of this style. I find it chemical and plastic-like again, but I feel I need to add that the citrusy/candied notes as well as the peaty smoke work well on the palate. In any case, it’s probably a late-period ‘Bowmore-of-that-style’, because earlier ones had less peat – and even more lavender. With water: rounder and sweeter. Grapefruit marmalade, plus some salt and some ashes. Finish: long, ashy. The lavender and the violets are still there. Comments: it’s like a late-period Picasso. Historically interesting, but certainly not from the artist’s best period. What’s sure is that we’ve tasted much worse – and, by the way, how do you score a last-era Picasso? SGP:574 - 80 points (bonus for the historical side).

… And now the very last one (cross my heart), and not just any Bowmore…

Bowmore 12 yo ‘Bicentenary’ (43%, OB, for Germany, 1979)

Bowmore 12 yo ‘Bicentenary’ (43%, OB, for Germany, 1979) Five stars An extremely rare bottle that I had never seen before this year. The 1964 and the blend of vintages (NAS) are well-known, while the square cask strength versions as well as the ‘Bowmore blend’ aren’t unknown, but this 12 yo is a first to me. That doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be the same juice as either the 1964 or the NAS, but the neck label is very different indeed. So, without further ado… let’s try this very rare baby, and we’ll be done with our Bowmore week. With a little panache, hopefully.

Colour: full gold. Nose: starts a little more leathery and tobacco-like than I remember from the other versions, with a little more, say tallow and even marrow, plus hints of new tyres and ‘old herbal liqueur that went dry over the years’. The tropical fruits are there, lurking in the shadows, but they do not seem to be wanting to come into the light. Maybe time will do the trick… zzz… zzz... We’re back. So, indeed, the fruits came out, but they remained kind of resinous, which I find very lovely and totally undull (does that word exist?) Mouth: it is a Bicentenary, no doubt, and a powerful one at that. Stones and tropical fruits, salt, old oils and liqueurs, bouillons, then rather jams, blackberries, honeydew, chlorophyll, apricots, mint, ripe plums, cough pastilles, sultanas, liquorice, a very discreet chalkiness… The mouth feel is thick and coating, all Bicentenary versions were thick anyway. Extreme goodness, astounding complexity, excuse me, but ‘wow!’ Finish: not eternal, sadly, but it’s one of the longest ‘43s’ I’ve ever tasted. Pure sappy, slightly smoky honey and liqueurs. Wow again. Comments: most sadly, I haven’t got any opened ‘regular’ Bicentenaries at hand these days, so I won’t do any comparisons, apart from stating that it seems to be rather gentler and rounder than the multi-vintage NAS (1950-1966). But we are up there with the highest stars of whiskydom, absolutely no doubts about that. SGP:554 - 93 points.

And vielen Dank, Marcel! Mfg…

More tasting notes Check the index of all Bowmore I've tasted so far







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