Whisky Review: SMWS 3.212 Bowmore “Anti-aphrodisiac” 1994 Aged 19 Years

Style: Fruity and Smoky

Nose:
A deep and riveting aroma on the nose. Lemon citrus, apricots and mineral peat resonating beautifully, nice. Bacon chunks and seaweed lightly roasted, passionfruit and mint garnishing on fizzing Schweppes. Orange confectionaries carried by chilli spice. Barbeque smoke rolling at the back.

Palate:
Resounding lemon-orange citrus beaming positively on the palate. Smoky water, more apricots, sultanas gathering and singing at the core. Bacon strips and lime stones building up slowly while chilli spice heating up the melting pot. Dark liquorice, dried apricots bits, cheddar with a touch of malt syrup. Fizzing off to a Moscato finish.

Finish:
Charred oak, hints of sea shells and bonfire. The influence of red currants gradually growing, sweet Riesling and dried fruits echoing till the end.

Thoughts:
This Bowmore is my first-ever society bottling I have bought. Interestingly (and also now with a sense of irony), it was introduced to me by none other than the Whisky Bible, the controversial Mr. Jim Murray, gave a pretty high mark which prompted me buy this bottle. A few years on and wow, life is always full of surprises isn’t it. Now back to this dram, while there is minimal influence from the sherry butt (4th fill?), the distillate is in pristine condition, all clean and balanced. Nothing crazy but it is definitely a decent Bowmore.

☆ [Recommended]


[55.7% Independent Bottling 1994 Distilled Single Cask 534 Bottled Natural Cask Strength Non Chill Filtered Non Coloured Ex-Sherry Refill Butt *]

Whisky Review: Bowmore 2000 Hand-Filled Cask #2495

Style: Dark Sherry and Smoky

Nose:
Begins with liquorice roots and tobacco which sink very deep and anchoring firmly at the base. Abundant dark fruits filling up the rest of the chamber, maple syrup, raisins, red currants with a touch of dried apricots. Prosciutto, wet cardboard, peppermint, cinnamon wood gently charred. Salty caramel melting and trickling down onto the mineralic peat. Subtle mango notes, steamed pāua and bonfire ashes dancing at the tail. Massive sherry with some maritime funkiness, crazy, but crazy good.

Palate:
Incredible amount of dark fruits rolling out on the palate, very big, intense, viscous. The sludgy sherry is deftly lifted up and counterbalanced by a clean touch of green tea leaves, five-spice and freshly-lit cigar. Peppercorn flashes, more depth as Black Forest cake and overripe cherries unfolding at mid-level. Umami, salty peat bog, Limoncello taking a splash of chilli pepper water. Another wave of black currants and tropical fruits, very fragrant. Liquorice roots leading to earthy malt towards the end, taro and cassava riding on a final spicy push.

Finish:
Black currants and expresso gradually reverting to a lighter form of sherry. Goji berries and ruby grapes, peppermint, bacon strips and cigarette smoke lingering till the end.

Thoughts:
Finally, I laid my hands on this famous Bowmore Hand-Filled (it wasn’t cheap), I generally do not make a point on the colour of the whisky, but man, when this Bowmore is almost as dark as soy sauce, it does give you a good idea of what you are getting into. Dark fruits are running rampant and overwhelming at times which makes me wonder if this super sherry bomb has gone a bit too far, but surprisingly, the clean spice and maritime smoke from the distillate cleverly cuts into the richness, balances and elevates the expression. Sweet, rich, reasonably complex and delicious. Love it.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[56.9% Original Bottling 2000 Distilled 2018 Bottled 143 Bottles Single Cask 1st Fill Sherry Puncheon Cask Number: 2495| Cask Strength **]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Adelphi Selection Bowmore 1997 20 Years Old


Style: Fruity, Slightly Smoky and Complex

Nose:
Warm pomegranate and cherry sauce pouring onto a sizzling steak. A pinch of sea salt, thyme placed on the side. Tropical fruits breaking out of the shell. Figs, dates and chocolate fudge placed on top of spearmint paste garnish. Umami anchoring at the bottom while white floral (am I also detecting the faintest hint of violets?!) overtone floating up in the air. Busy and quite complex.

Palate:
Cranberries and dark cherries bursting forward on the palate. Peppermint chocolate chip ice cream in golden liquid form, slightly gamey, also a bit briney, feels like a jumbo Pacific oyster sprinkled with black pepper. Liquorice roots, camphor and some tobacco leaves to follow. Tropical fruit punch forming all the necessary base notes. Fig jam, melting chocolate pot and Nutella mixing with some hearty cornflakes. Paprika, nutmeg and chilli touch at the tail.

Finish:
Blackcurrants, ruby grapes and milk chocolate. Another tiny splash of brine, creating a sweet and velvety finish.

Thoughts:
Modern Bowmore hitting top form, glorious sherry shining beautifully while leaving enough space for the distillate to be integrated into the expression with near-perfection. The pace, the elements on display and its arrangement all feels so neat, natural and comfortable. Delicious, coherent and surprisingly complex. Dangerously addictive, this one.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[56.3% | Independent Bottling | 1997 Distilled | 2018 Bottled | Single Cask | Cask Number: 2414 | 601 Bottles | Cask Strength **-]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: La Maison du Whisky Artist #7 Bowmore 2001 Over 15 Years

Style: Spicy, Dry and Fruity

Nose:
Sharp alcohol carrying ultra-charged spearmint and black peppercorns, a distinct tone of burnt plastic hiding behind, funky. The attack gradually mellows down to tropical fruits, cooked paw paw, then moving towards lemon aloe vera. Spice still growling in the background, coal ambers heating up, some earthiness, but the smoke does not feel very obvious here, curious. Sweet yellow mango refluxes, barley, hints of white flower at the tail.

Palate:
Sweet tropical fruits riding on top of a massive medicinal spices wave. Aloe vera, green leaves, white chalk and raw bananas infused with earthy peat. High-power ester fruits ringing the maritime bell, Florina peppers. Liquorice roots, followed by a gorgeous malty bite, all thick and oily, very nice. Honeymead, red chilli heating up. Oysters, mineral rocks, grated chocolate and ginger. A hint of navel orange and coffee grounds to finish.

Finish:
Lemon aloe vera purring softly, liquorice, dark chocolate and charred oak on the side.

Thoughts:
This Bowmore might be a bit divisive as it falls onto the raw/rogue side of the spectrum. Well, the make of Bowmore does have many facets and styles, you might not like all of them, but it is always fun to find out what you are going to get. Dry, mineralic and quite powerful yet it is still reasonably fruity. It feels there are very different elements pieced together without too much synchronisation. Not disjointed, but the levels are quite distinct and loosely stitched together, fairly complex with unexpected twists and turns along the way, making it a rather fun experience.

☆ [Recommended]

[56.7% Independent Bottling 2001 Distilled 2017 Bottled Cask Number #20115 286 Bottles Hogshead *]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Black Bowmore (First Edition)

[50.0%・29 Years Old・Distilled in 1964・Bottled in 1993・Original Bottling・Limited Release of 2,000 Bottles]

Nose:

Bold. Ink and dark toffee treacle, the peat is earthy and herbal with a fine jus of black cherries and prunes drawing out the shyer, soft fruits. In time there are hints of fine smoke and maple smoked bacon trailing off..

Palate & Finish:

The intensity of the prunes aligns the focus back onto the Sherry, rich, creamy mouthfeel with the dried fruits oozing out a jammy, mouth-coating texture; soft peat, oak and pepper gelling with fig jam and maple syrup.

A medium finish of dark fruits and herbs, with some milk chocolate drawing the richness to a close.

Thoughts:

Let’s set the scene here… the year was 1993, there really weren’t a whole lot of whiskies out there looking like this bottle.. you spent the kind of cash that made you go “oh god.. I did that..”, and the dram really didn’t disappoint and indeed amazed.

Much like how the 308 only has 255 horsepower or how the calibre 2121 only has 40 hours of power reserve, a lot has changed and we are all a bit spoiled now.. but this is still an important Sherried Bowmore.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: SMWS 3.214 Bowmore “Vintage Cameras and Turntables”

[55.4%・18 Years Old・Distilled in 1995 ・ Bottled in 2014 ・SMWS Bottling・Single Cask Release of 246 Bottles]

Nose:

The sea breeze getting that saltiness and iodine across. Beeswax and tree gum giving a rubbery feel and later on some gently poached pears.

Palate & Finish:

Succulent with the fruits but carries a vegetable oil note, ginger, green mangos and pear jelly seasoned with a pinch of sea salt.

Soft oily peat easing back smoothly to pears.

Thoughts:

Solid Bowmore that’s a bit outside the box with its funky characters, certainly would be regarded as a nice SMWS selection in 2014, turning noses and provoking palates.

In hindsight the past few years have been interesting to say the least, I doubt we see this bottle in green and white in 2020..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Signatory Millenium Edition 1968 Bowmore

[43.0%・Distilled in 1968・Bottled in 1999・ 31 Years Old・Signatory Vintage Bottling・Cask No. 3817・Single Cask Release of 238 Bottles] 

Nose:

Clean for its age and a wee bit grassy, a hint of crisp bubbly perhaps, notes of vanilla, banana peels complimenting the malty weetbix base.

Palate & Finish:

A pleasurably juicy affair, bright orange peels seasoned with vanilla sugar, just a fantastic fruit bomb with tropical fruits bursting through.

Just a touch of bitterness in the finish to bring everything back from the sweeter fruits like papaya.

Thoughts:

Absolute tropical brilliance, perhaps not as high reaching as its siblings but nevertheless a thoroughly pleasing experience.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

P.S. Thank you Yuhun for the dram, it’s much appreciated.

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Kingsbury Islay Bowmore 1966

[43.7%・Distilled in 1966・ 35 Years Old・Kingsbury Bottling・Cask No. 3300 ・ Single Cask Release of 300 Bottles]

Nose:

A first impression that makes one just cusses a little in awe.. a wondrous and pure bouquet of splendidly refreshing pear and mint gelato finely drizzled with elderflower syrup and served with slices of soft white peaches; silkily soothing, and immensely pleasing with the excessiveness of various fruits, and later on the natural spirit aromas arrive with hints of tree gum and banana jam. An indescribable revelation really..

Palate & Finish:

An extravagance of waves and waves of sublime fruits seasoned with fine white sugar; refreshing green fruits, watermelon sugar, caramelised banana and sweet pineapple chutney, with just a touch of herbs bringing in subtle signs of ageing in the forms of oak and nutmeg along with plenty of dried fruits and nuts.

Beautiful, lasting fruits in the finish, vanilla sugar, mint jelly, brushes of wax perhaps with some fresh Italian herbs.

Thoughts:

There have been some recent controversies associated with this dram, namely whether it should be scored 93 or 95 or 98 etc. etc., a philosophical exercise bordering on trivial if I were to be completely candid for a dram of this caliber and this dram really does deserve better as one of the most brilliant expressions from the greatest era of the distillery in my humble opinion, one of the most enjoyable amongst the “three starred” whiskies I have rated..

It is fortunate that I am not obligated to publicise a definitive scoring of this dram, I am just grateful to have tasted this dram and I can unreservedly recommend this as one of the most marvellous whiskies I have come across to date, essentially otherworldly and really this is why we love whiskies in the first place.

☆☆☆ [Most Recommended]

Thank you Emmanuel for facilitating this dramming experience..

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Duncan Taylor Rare Auld Bowmore Aged 37 Years

[41.5%・Distilled in 1968・Bottled in 2006・ 37 Years Old・Duncan Taylor Bottling・Cask No. 3823・Single Cask Release of 158 Bottles] 

Nose:

Ahhhh, beautiful. Full of tropical fruit nectar with a delicate touch of ashy peat, peaches, strawberries and icing sugar embodied in a fine layer of smoked applewood chips as the more dignified aromas of oak from Shinto shrines set in.

Palate & Finish:

A slightly citrus touch brings along an unexpected vibrant liveliness despite the advanced age. A lovely floral presence surrounded by French vanilla and lychees with fine flowing honey and white peaches providing this somewhat stimulating sweetness complimented by very fine peat. Dried fruits and nuts arriving later on to settle things a little.

Gratifying, as the oak evens out the luscious fruits to create a perfect crispness.

Thoughts:

A celebration of the vibrant bouquet fruits made famous via a few 1960s Bowmore bottlings.

To me this is near perfect, and on a summer evening, it sounds just like a song..

☆☆☆ [Most Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Signatory Vintage Bowmore 1972 Aged 36 Years

[45.4%・Distilled in 1972・Bottled in 2008・ 36 Years Old・Signatory Vintage Bottling・Cask No. 3890・Single Cask Release of 540 Bottles] 

Nose:

Exceptionally theatric and captivating, rich prunes and figs mingle with a stately leather featured vintage mahogany piece, think Finn Juhl’s Chieftain.. creamy red tea leaves giving off that tannic aroma, whilst an earthy espresso is being topped with cream froth and dark chocolate dust. In time the savoury umami note really sips out, bringing along hints of peppered bak kut teh, curry powder and fennel seeds.

Palate & Finish:

Thick, intense mouthfeel of prunes, red oak, raw dark chocolate; rich gooey delivery of nutmeg coated molasses balanced by the leathery texture. Dark plum sauce bringing about a savoury edge as the late arriving peat smoke makes for a much more three dimensional experience.

The puff of peat smoke expands with subtle notes of candied oranges, European oak and tannins drawing long, finishing like a satisfying cigar session.

Thoughts:

Thrillingly Sherried beyond the wildest expectations and drams like a perfect perfecto.

To quote Messr Styles.. it’s so wonderful and warm..

☆☆☆ [Most Recommended]

-Nicholas