Google A little bag of Bowmore

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

January 13, 2016


A little bag of Bowmore

Various styles, all from the independents.

Bowmore 17 yo 1996/2013 (49.8%, The Whisky Agency with LMDW and, Jam Session #1, hogshead, cask #960051, 172 bottles)

Bowmore 17 yo 1996/2013 (49.8%, The Whisky Agency with LMDW and, Jam Session #1, hogshead, cask #960051, 172 bottles) Four stars and a half Did I already tell you how much I loved these stunning ‘jazz’ labels? Colour: white wine. Nose: probably one of the farmiest Bowmores I’ve ever tried. Barnyard, an old oil tank, a pile of old tyres, and perhaps an old Citroën 2CV parked somewhere. What’s even funnier is that it suddenly does a U-turn (2CVs used to be good at that), becoming very coastal, with some seawater, kelp, oysters, a fire on the beach… It’s also quite medicinal, ala older Laphroaig (tincture of iodine, balms…) Mouth: ultra-chiselled, with a surprising touch of caraway, then as much salt and smoked fish as possible. The peat’s big too, but not stifling. The lemons too. It’s maybe just a wee tad sweet, but that’s nothing. The strength is perfect. Finish: long, very salty, lemony, and pretty sweet. Limoncello and seawater, 50/50. Comments: the sweetness is a little surprising, but it’s another very great middle-aged Bowmore. SGP:556 - 89 points.

Bowmore 12 yo 2003/2015 (49.6%, Liquid Treasures, bourbon barrel)

Bowmore 12 yo 2003/2015 (49.6%, Liquid Treasures, bourbon barrel) Four starsWith a great offbeat label depicting a travel to Mars. What the indies do, no distiller (and probably IB from the UK) could or would do! Colour: white wine. Nose: great, there. High-ester rum (Jamaican, perhaps), smoked fruits and fish, hessian, salted liquorice, grapefruits, pinesap, cough syrup, eucalyptus… I find this simply perfect. Lovingly clean. Mouth: a bit unusual, because of this combination of raw coastal peat with sweeter tropical fruits, and perhaps this pepper that rather hints at Talisker, but I’m all for funny combos and mixes. Lemon and orange drops, papayas, green apples, a vanilla-ed sweetness… It’s actually not too firm, but that works. Finish: medium, fresh, with some oily vanilla. Comments: another one that rocks, which was expected. Perhaps a tad simple at times, but no problems at all. SGP:646 - 87 points.

Images of Islay 1995/2013 'Round church of Bowmore' (53.2%, Malts of Scotland, 178 bottles)

Images of Islay 1995/2013 'Round church of Bowmore' (53.2%, Malts of Scotland, 178 bottles) Four stars Some sherry was involved, according to the colour. I have no proof that this is Bowmore, but the name should say it all. Colour: deep amber. Nose: well well well, this is very tarry, quite rubbery, and very intense at first nosing. Some burnt bread everywhere, gunpowder, black tea, damson plums (on a tarte)… Now the peat’s relatively discreet. Bitter chocolate. With water: old cardboard and pipe tobacco. Rather drier. Mouth (neat): very rich, sweeter than expected, rather on peonies, Cointreau, ginger liqueur, Schweppes, cranberry juice… This sweetness is a little disturbing, but on the other hand, it’s a very different Bowmore. Vive la différence! With water: ultra-sweet, and funnily enough, there are ‘echoes’ of the lavendery 1980s, but I find this very better. Raspberry and blackberry jams. Finish: quite long, on red fruits, while the smoke makes a late arrival. Ashes, pomegranates, and blood oranges. Comments: not a very smoky Bowmore, but a very sherried one. It may have a ‘premixy’ side, but I find it very good nonetheless. SGP:644 - 86 points.

Bw5 (50.2%, Speciality Drinks Ltd, Elements of Islay, 2015)

Bw5 (50.2%, Speciality Drinks Ltd, Elements of Islay, 2015) Five stars Haha, it’s NAS, but TWE’s website tells us that it’s actually a 16 yo, the youngest component having been distilled in 1996. Funny that they felt the need to disclose that… (and a good sign overall, if you ask me). Colour: straw. Nose: sharp, ‘millimetric’, with some gentian, green olives, Chablis, and whiffs of damp hessian. That’s all folks, but that’s already quite a lot. With water: fresh paint. Boat paint, of course. Mouth (neat): a blade. Bitter almonds, seawater, kippers, putty, more salty olives. With water: more of all that, with just a little more roundness. Drops of maple syrup, perhaps. Finish: medium to long, still rounded, with a little smoked salmon. Salty, smoky, and lemony aftertaste. A touch of sucrose. Comments: the purest form of modern Bowmore. It’s got it all going on. SGP:456 - 90 points.

Bowmore 12 yo 2003/2014 (58.1%, Cadenhead, wine cask, burgundy wood, 270 Bottles)

Bowmore 12 yo 2003/2014 (58.1%, Cadenhead, wine cask, burgundy wood, 270 Bottles) Four stars and a half This one was transferred into a Bourgogne cask in 2011. But white or red? We’ll see… Colour: salmony. Probably red. Nose: plenty of sawdust and nutmeg at first nosing, then rather peonies and ginger. Peppercorns, a little butter, a little incense. A little strange, but it works. With water: pencil shavings galore, old pièce (that’s the name of the casks they use in Burgundy), a wee mustiness… Mouth (neat): fun stuff indeed. Sweet oranges, raspberries, ginger, strawberries, some pretty spicy French oak, and Bowmore’s peat. It’s not easy-easy to find out about which spices came from the cask, and which from the spirit. But quite amazingly, they blend well. With water: some kind of syrup? An old cordial? It’s very spicy and very fruity at the same time, and Bowmore’s saltiness is roaring in the background. Finish: long, sweet, salty, spicy. Salted cherries? Comments: this baby will make you believe in miracles. I’d have never thought it would work, I remember a Port Ellen finished in a red Burgundy cask (not by CAD) that was really, really… unlikely. SGP:655 - 88 points.

All good, all good these late-period Bowmores. Shall we take chances now? You bet!

Bowmore 1982/2004 (45%, Samaroli, Coilltean, casks #1011-1062-1071)

Bowmore 1982/2004 (45%, Samaroli, Coilltean, casks #1011-1062-1071) Three stars and a half Most, if not all 1982s have been oddly perfumy. Now, some whisky lovers are fond of this style, so it remains a matter of preferences. Colour: pale gold. Nose: hey hey, I do not find much lavender or Parma violets, rather a funny sweet minty side… Anise sweets, blackcurrants, what we call anis bredala in Alsace (anise-flavoured hard cookies), perhaps touches of cooked artichokes, maybe a little plastic and fresh paint… Tends to lose focus a bit, but this is not quite a meltdown. Mouth: yeah, there, this violetty sweetness, cranberry juice, salted blueberry jelly (I imagine!), stuff from Haribo’s, orange squash… It’s really strange, but just between us, I’ve tasted much worse as far as these vintages are concerned. Finish: another miraculous one, because the violets do not manage to dominate the smoky/salty side of Bowmore. Comments: sure it’s weird and uncommon, but I’ll say it again, it’s one of my favourite 1980s Bowmores. I even find it pretty good! Pretty pretty good! SGP:644 - 84 points.

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






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