Google A Bowmorathon, part 2

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

June 4, 2020


A Bowmorathon, part 2

We’ve had some excellent ones yesterday, let’s hope today will be of the same ilk. Including this aperitif…

Bowmore 15 yo (43%, OB, +/-2019)

Bowmore 15 yo (43%, OB, +/-2019) Two stars and a half
Remember the 15 year old ‘Mariner’? Never has a malt been that inconsistent, but they’ve added much sherry to the 15 in recent years (in WF time that’s twenty years). Sherry could stabilise whisky, I’ve heard… Colour: dark gold with reddish hues. Nose: fumes, truffle and gas, then raisins, leather, tobacco and hard-boiled eggs. The good news is that all that would just vanish in the air, leaving some rather lovely meaty and smoky notes in your glass. Almond and apple peel too. Very fine, just take your time. Mouth: some parts are excellent (smoked almonds, tobacco, lapsang souchong, cough syrup) but others are more difficult (rubber, green pepper, leather). Globally good but I like my Bowmores brighter, or older, or rather sherried to perfection. I know, stating the obvious now. Finish: medium, too leafy and leathery now. Rubbery. Loses a lot of point here at the finish. Comments: it was all going pretty well, but the finish was a little ugly. Too leafy and resinous, I would say.
SGP:475 - 78 points.

Bw8 (51.2%, Elixir Distillers, Elements of Islay, 2020)

Bw8 (51.2%, Elixir Distillers, Elements of Islay, 2020) Four stars
It was about time, as Bw7 came out in 2017, for crying out loud! A vatting of the 2001-2003 vintages, ex-bourbon and ex-sherry. Colour: white wine. Nose: it was infinitesimal sherry, apparently, and I know no one who would complain about that. Lemon and lime, chalk and flints, olive oil and ashes, oysters and langoustines (whatever), fresh almonds and apple peels. Keyword: pure. With water: hand soap, newspapers (not the Daily Mail), paraffin, new hessian. Mouth (neat): bright, slightly sour (gherkin brine), then lemony, smoky and peppery. Rather big peppers. With water: gets extremely briny. Grapefruits are starting to fly around too, and there’s some sour ale too. Weissbier, sour cream.  Finish: medium, rather on sourdough, yeast and brine. A leafiness I the aftertaste, possibly from the sherry cask(s). Comments: extremely fine.
SGP:466 - 86 points.

Bowmore 17 yo 2002/2019 (53.6%, Cadenhead, Single Cask, bourbon hogshead, 294 bottles)

Bowmore 17 yo 2002/2019 (53.6%, Cadenhead, Single Cask, bourbon hogshead, 294 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: white wine. Nose: holy featherless crow, this has vanilla and coconut! Also drops of Maggi, soy sauce, damp cardboard, seawater, caper brine and capsicum. Allll right. With water: all right indeed. Wool, mud, seawater, ink. It’s been kind of cleaned up by water, it seems. Mouth (neat): best news of the day, no coconut! Rather some extreme smoked seawater, some spearmint and some black pepper.. A feeling of quaffing mercurochrome. With water: and lime, citrons, oyster juice and lapsang souchong. A razorblade-y Bowmore. Finish: long, peppery and ashy. Comments: millimetric. Scottish mezcal? Scottish mezcal!
SGP:467 - 89 points.

Bowmore 23 yo 1996/2020 (56.1%, The Single Malts of Scotland, Elixir Distillers, sherry butt, cask #960014, 634 bottles)

Bowmore 23 yo 1996/2020 (56.1%, The Single Malts of Scotland, Elixir Distillers, sherry butt, cask #960014, 634 bottles) Four stars and a half
634 bottles at C/S from a butt, that’s fine. And coherent. Colour: white wine. Where’s the butt? Nose: so narrow, so fantastic! Wool, lime juice, rhubarb, that’s it. Perfect. Perfect in the sense that Malevich’s white on white was perfect too. Oh, better forget. With water: wool, chalk, porridge, sourdough, charcoal ashes. Mouth (neat): it’s a prototype of a briny and zesty Bowmore. There’s more sherry in a bone-dry Mosel riesling if you ask me. Quick… With water: changed a lot. Passion fruits and ashy agave, this is truly very mezcaly. Juniper and capsicum after that. Finish: long, ‘green’. Really a lot of cracked pepper in the aftertaste, that’s perhaps a little too much. Loses one fat point here. Comments: another very pure Bowmore that became complex thanks to quite a few years in some excellently lazy wood.
SGP:367 - 89 points.

A fifth Bowmore please, and we’ll call this a session…

Bowmore 30 yo 1989/2020 (50%, Wemyss Malts, Black Gold, sherry hogshead, 175 bottles)

Bowmore 30 yo 1989/2020 (50%, Wemyss Malts, Black Gold, sherry hogshead, 175 bottles) Two stars and a half
Great distillery, great age, great bottler… But the vintage’s tricky. Remember, the 1980s have been Bowmore’s worst decade ever as far as quality and style were concerned. Yep. Now, could be that this one already stemmed from Bowmore’s newer regime, let’s check that, we’ve had some very good 1989s in the past… Colour: deep amber. Nose: no Parma violets, no lavender, no Hilton air freshener, no French whore perfume (FWP, there I said it), rather a pretty lovely tobacco-leather-marmalade combo. Fig sauce over ham or roast lamb, plus tinned peas, charcoal and date wine. More or less that. With water: bouillons, chicken soups, fig wine, baklavas. Mouth (neat): a tad jumbled, peppery, leathery, burnt, bitter… Not too sure about this one, really, and God knows I used to love Wemyss’s malts in general. With water: a little better, but the oak took over. Chlorophyll, pine resin, pepper, leather. Finish: medium, with some wee soapy touches, bouillon, bitter herbs… Comments: I would say these casks are very hard. Seriously, the vast majority of these 1980s Bowmores should now be redistilled and used as hand sanitizers. Still love love love Wemyss though!
SGP:275 - 78 points (and that’s a goodwill mark).

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







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