This Bowmore did get a bit of talking about in a bottle share group I’m in. Mostly because it clocks in at 160 quid per bottle, which seems like a lot for a 15 year old Bowmore. This was extra surprising since it’s been bottled by Signatory, a bottler normally known and appreciated for having quite acceptable prices for their single casks.
However, with the popularity of anything Islay, and especially slightly older whiskies from that island, it’s also not very surprising. Keep in mind that there are vast amounts of seven to ten year old Islay whiskies out there, but the older ones are much more rare.
So, a fifteen year old Bowmore from a bourbon cask, bottled at cask strength. I guess you can’t really go wrong there. It’s just a matter of seeing how good it is, instead of seeing whether or not it’s good.
On nosing this Bowmore, I immediately get a bit of a mezcal like smokiness. Slightly diesely, some fruity acidity with hints of citrus. A bit dirty, all in all. Lemon and lime pith with hints of bitterness.
The palate is more smooth than I expected, but quite rich and intense. Dry with herbs, wood and twigs. Newly shaved oak with bitter lemon and lime rind.
The finish is long and gently warming. Some herbs and lemon and lime again. Oak and cedar (pencil shavings).
After typing up my tasting notes I checked Ruben’s notes on this whisky and it looks like we had two different whiskies. Now I know he is more versed in fruit flavors and scents, but I’m very surprised by the difference in notes.
Anyway, it’s all very personal of course. In this case it does mean that I’m not as huge a fan of this as he is. It’s a good dram, don’t get me wrong, but I find it not overly complex and fairly straight forward. The lemon and lime keep coming around and I’m missing a bit of balancing sweetness. Of course there’s a hint of smoke woven through the entire dram, and since it’s a Bowmore that’s not overly punchy.
Again, a very good dram but not a stellar one.
Bowmore 2001-2017, 15yo, Hogshead 20117, 55.6%, Signatory for The Whisky Exchange. Available there for £160.
A big thank you to The Whisky Exchange for sending the sample!
Yes, this reminded me of the famous 1993-1995 Bowmores which had a lot of tropical fruits. Typical for longer fermentation and enhanced by the bourbon cask. Of course it needs some time to “get over” the usual smoke and indeed mezcal-like sharper notes. Now that I think of it, we both tried Bowmore Bw5 and we had the same differences in our notes.
We did, didn’t we? Interesting.
For me this was a more typical of ‘around 2000’ Bowmore. The 1995s I’ve had were a tad more interesting to me.