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

Dram Review: Bowmore Aged 25 Years (Bottled Circa 2004-2005)

[43.0%・Bottled Circa 2004-2005・ 25 Years Old・Original Bottling・General Release]

Nose:

Full and rich at 43%, heavier tones of herbal and vegetative tones, milky, vanilla sundae sauce with some over-ripen fruits. Dirty peat and oily fudge in time giving a rounded experience.

Palate & Finish:

Strawberry preserve infused with cloves and dirty peat smoke, the peat inspired qualities are mellowed out by the Sherry sweetness, making for a decently balanced finish.

Thoughts:

An expressive Sherried Bowmore without being too special. Rather nice.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Wemyss Malts Bowmore Nostalgic 70’s Flavour

[57.4%・22 Years Old・Distilled in 1995・Bottled in 2018・ Wemyss Malts Bottling for KUO, F.A.T, Aqua Vitae & Spirits Salon・Single Cask Release of 210 Bottles]

Nose:

A bacon smokiness cuts through the sweet soapy aromas, hint of burnt plastic to go with the barbecue smoke.

Palate & Finish:

Vibrantly juicy with the tropical white fruits with just a brute oomph of smoke to prop up the backbone, certainly has this rawness to it.

The spiciness carries forward to the finish, eases out with some pepper and barbecued pineapples.

Thoughts:

For me this is a fun modern Bowmore that has character, I’m not too sure how it resembles 70s expressions but I suppose these days we are all nostalgic of the good old days, simpler times of fun IB Bowmore.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Bowmore The Fèis Ìle Collect1°.n 2018 Aged 15 Years

[52.5%・15 Years Old・Bottled in 2018・Official Bottling・Limited Release of 3,000 Bottles]

Nose:

Quite salty and herbal from the cask, dense with chocolate dust, vanilla fudge, smoked peanuts and roasted almonds, in time it develops a certain musk from mushrooms and herbs.

Palate & Finish:

Dried figs and salted nuts, herbal with smoked black tea as the leathery tannins carry notes of oyster shells, blood oranges and burnt wood staves.

Towards the vegetative side in the finish, chocolate mud cake and oak tannins channel through smoked nuts with some cinnamon dusted raisins.

Thoughts:

A modern Bowmore, quite a big dram relying on cask and strength, but not together necessarily.

Arguably too much cask going on but in saying that though, it is still coherent enough to please people who are not high proof addicts.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Scotch Malt Sales Bowmore Aged 12 Years

[57.0%・12 Years Old・Distilled Circa 1970s・Bottled Circa 1989・Scotch Malt Sales Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Happy to say this is not even close to being hot and overwhelming, in fact it is pretty poised and relaxed, sweet peat drawing from the syrupy base as molten salted caramel gracefully flows out.

Palate & Finish:

Substantial, luscious mouthfeel of sexy confectionery sweetness, stringing out soft fruits, milk chocolate buttons and smoked bacon.  Peat and minerals lightly sparkle in the tail

An extension of  pretty stone fruits and creamy almonds.

Thoughts:

Bravo, a powerful delivery on the palate but still delicate with the details.

The kind of specs that doesn’t inspire much confidence if you see it on a current release but so well executed with the late 70s distillate.

Some food for thought perhaps..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Scotch Malt Sales Bowmore Aged 18 Years

[57.0%・18 Years Old・Distilled Circa 1970s・Scotch Malt Sales Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Boosting an indulgent thickness, chocolate, smoked figs and other mushed Sherry fruits get churned with toffee and caramelised popcorn, stupendously expressive.

Palate & Finish:

The Sherry influence is phenomenal, fragrant dark fruits carrying this certain sensual saltiness from the cask. The aged Sherry note folds together with walnuts with the strength of the dram bringing out blackcurrant and dark cherries.

Syrup drenched strawberries and raw chocolate with a mild nuttiness to it, the Jamón saltiness stretches to a mesmerising end.

Thoughts:

Now, this is one substantial digestif, a satisfying treat to cap off a perfect night.. the peat of 70s Bowmore probably got lost amidst all that Sherry but who’s to say for certain the dram would fare better..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Bowmore 20 Years Old (Bottled by Intertrade)

[48.5%・20 Years Old・Distilled in 1965・Bottled in 1985・Intertrade Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

The nose boosts a marvellous curation of chocolate sponge cake, cherry jam, red tea and roasted capsicum. Aged ginger and ground cinnamon bringing out the luminousness of the Sherry casks as aged leather soothes the boldness. In time, the ashy core of the dram begins to unmask itself, faintly at first but gradually becoming more robust.

Palate & Finish:

The dram answers the nose with such a jammy presence, though the oak tannins do seem to arrive just a touch too soon. Condensed coulis of forest berries with cola gummy bears adding a sweet touch as the peat coolly glides in parallel. Thereafter the dram becomes quite peppery on the mid-palate.

Poached syrupy plums and seaweed mingling in the finish, ripe figs, oak and chocolate dust adding the fine finishing touches.

Thoughts:

I must confess I do not have a whole lot of experience with Bowmore distilled in the 1960s, other than a few 1964 and some late 1960s vintages; this one feels distinctively different to those expressions in that it feels quite a bit feistier, “peatier”. Still, the era specific fruitiness is present as is the magnificent Sherry influence unique to casks of that era and what we have here is one blissful dramming experience. I’m honoured to have had the opportunity to kill the bottle.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas