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

March 29, 2018


Another bag of Bowmore

It is so good that the 1980s are over! Because in the 1980s, you had both those stupid electronic drum kits and the strangest Bowmores ever distilled. Lavender lozenges, violet and geranium air fresheners and Marks & Spencer’s own cologne all at the same time, remember? A proper tour de force!

Clydeside Distillery 10 yo ‘Islay’ (40%, OB, for Hideo Yamaoka, 2018)

Clydeside Distillery 10 yo ‘Islay’ (40%, OB, for Hideo Yamaoka, 2018) Four stars and a half
This is not, mind you, from the actual new Clydeside Distillery in Glasgow, but it was bottled for them and poured over there. A little bird told me it’s Bowmore, but of course I have no proof, your honour. I remember Kilchoman had done more or less the same in their early days. Colour: white wine. Nose: crystalline, peaty, coastal, with whiffs of pink grapefruits and a drop of agave syrup. Beach sand and hessian. Mouth: impeccable, very good, not weak, smoky, citrusy, with notes of kippers and fatter seashells (clams?) Kind of self-evident, and simply extremely good. Such a classy spirit when no flavouring oak gets in the way! Finish: it’s even long, oily, earthy, just totally perfect. Comments: in theory, this was distilled in the late 2000s. Watch these, watch these (and just avoid any mizusherryvirginport casks – if I may).
SGP:456 - 89 points.

So, at random… (didn’t we say we’d do this randomly?)…

Bowmore 26 yo ‘The Vintner’s Trilogy’ (48.7%, OB, +/-2018)

Bowmore 26 yo ‘The Vintner’s Trilogy’ (48.7%, OB, +/-2018) Two stars
I would say the name’s a little scary. What would vintners have to do with whisky? Would you call some bread ‘The Butcher’s Reserve’? You say yes? Good, good… This is ex-French oak barrique by the way, but they wouldn’t say if it was just a finishing. Which means that it was just a finishing. Come on, show a bit of courage, Serge. Colour: deep gold. Nose: burnt wood and lavender lozenges, plus cassis jam, struck matches and touches of manure. Not sure, really not sure. In my book one of Bowmore’s main assets is the ‘chiselled purity’ of its spirit, but this is the exact opposite.  A bit of a mess, in my opinion. Mouth: a tad nicer but unbalanced, with more blackcurrants, Fanta, cloves gone mad, lavender indeed, and a whole pack of cheap sweets from Amazon’s. Finish: long but difficult, too leathery, with these green tannins. Proper ‘black’ tannins in the aftertaste. Comments: not quite a Vintner's Tragedy, but I think the whisky makers should simply stop plundering the wine world - aimlessly. Yeah, go score such an oddity (knowing that I do not want to offend anyone, but also that that would be £350 a bottle)…
SGP:665 - 72 points.

We need redemption, don’t we (although 72 is not such a bad score, really…)… but we’re also very single minded…

Bowmore 18 yo ‘The Vintner’s Trilogy’ (52.5%, OB, +/-2018)

Bowmore 18 yo ‘The Vintner’s Trilogy’ (52.5%, OB, +/-2018) Three stars and a half
Manzanilla this time, and I just love manzanilla. As you may know, that’s some fino that’s matured in or around Sanlucar de Barrameda, on the coast. It’s a bone-dry salty and nutty white that I simply adore. And indeed this is a finishing again… Colour: gold. Nose: driving a 911 after a Trabant. Bowmore’s markers are well in place, with some kelp and seawater, carbon paper, Play-Doh, ashes, hessian, grass, and lemons. As for the manzanilla… well… Mouth: ah yes! Lemons and brine, oysters, the tiniest touch of mustard, black pepper, and just a little too much grassy grass. See what I mean? It’s true that manzanilla can be a little ‘pervasive’ at times. Finish: long, a tad gritty, green, leafy. Green tannins and bizarrely, some sugar in the aftertaste. Lemon curd. Comments: of course this would be even better without the wine thing, but it’s one of the good ones, in my opinion. Liked a recent regular 18 better, having said that (WF 87).
SGP:375 - 83 points.

Couldn’t we go back to normal? Those wineskies can get pretty tiring… Oh I think I’ve got a wee CAD that I haven’t tried yet…

Bowmore 15 yo 2000/2015 (58.4%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon barrel, 180 bottles)

Bowmore 15 yo 2000/2015 (58.4%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon barrel, 180 bottles) Five stars
I fear this will be quick. Colour: white wine. Nose: immaculate waxy lemony coastal ashy nose. Doesn’t need anything more, especially not wine, or that would be like Mr. Bean drawing over a Picasso. With water: hessian, ever heard of hessian? And bread dough. Mouth (neat): of course. With water: phew! Finish: yep. Crystal-clean lemony and brine-y and smoky Islayer. The kind that, in theory, no one should touch. Comments: why anyone would decide to murder (read flavour – so finish in official whisky vocabulary) this kind of perfect distillate is just incomprehensible. Even from a marketing point of view. Even from a marketing-on-peyote point of view. Or on Brewdog.
SGP:457 - 91 points.

Good, one last little Bowmore, from the old boxes, for the road…

Bowmore 12 yo 1998/2010 (51.8%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, bourbon barrel)

Bowmore 12 yo 1998/2010 (51.8%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, bourbon barrel) Four stars
I’m eight years late, that’s nothing, is it! Colour: white wine. Nose: ah I remember, you could still find some wacky ones in the late 1990s, but they were always interesting and often even superb. In this very case, we’re finding asparagus, shoe polish, artichokes, and perhaps even broccolis, and only then proper coastal notes, kelp, tarry ropes, that old tweed jacket after a walk in the rain… With water: mud, and visiting the Islay Woollen Mill while on Bowmore Bicentenary. Mouth (neat): right, Bowmore’s distillate was already immaculate in the late 1990s, as long as crazy newborn finishionistas were kept at a distance. Or sent to hell, together with oak-technologists and republican lawyers (hey, I’m only joking!) Perfect oily notes of smoked fish, oranges, ashes… So good, so good… With water: no, careful with water. A drop of Vittel will suffice. Of course the water you’re using is of utmost importance. Finish: smoked cod oil and paraffin, plus hints of cinnamon roll. That part came unexpected. Comments: there are rumours that some Scottish distillers are about to use malbec. Hang those heretics high! (indeed, carried away…)
SGP:357 - 87 points.

(Gracias, Hideo, Philip and Tomislav!)

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Bowmore we've tasted so far






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