When Ruben posted his review to The Four: Isle Solera by Woodwinters I knew I wanted some of that. And with Elements of Islay’s Bw7 for sale as well, a bottle share was quickly taking shape.
I even shared two bottles of each, such was the popularity of these whiskies. I wasn’t overly surprised by that since I know there’s a lot of guys in my group that love the sherry and peat combination. And with these two whiskies both having some decent age to them, popularity ramped.
I quickly tried them after I got my hands on them. Something I can’t say for all things I think I need to bottle-share (cough Jura One and All cough). Especially with a trip to Islay coming up in two weeks I wanted to get my peat on!
Bowmore Bw7, 2001-2017, Sherry Butts, 53.2% – Elements of Islay
The peat is very intense on the nose, more so that I’d expect from Bowmore. The sherry is too, I’d say this is more in the range of those insane Port Charlottes than any other distillery on Islay. Wood smoke, peat, soil. Lots of fruit too, with plums, apricot, but also stewed strawberry and rhubarb. Later I get some aniseed, some leather and shoe polish.
The palate is fairly sharp with lots and lots of fruit. Red fruit like strawberry, but as on the nose there’s plum and apricot too. Rather dry with a lot of oak, fiery smoke and flint. Peat, salt, tar. Quite a ‘clunky’ whisky. Dry leather and shoe polish again, with some cigarettes.
The finish is a bit hotter at the start than the palate was, but is mostly dry and oaky. Less fruit, but there’s still smoke and ash, tar and even some browned butter.
In a way all these flavors are amazing, but it’s just a bit of a jumble to be honest. I really like it, but it’s not very refined. Very clunky, boorish maybe.
Bowmore 16yo, bottled in 2016, Sherry Cask, 58.1%, The Four – Isle Solera – Woodwinters
Compared to the Bw7 (I tasted this one after that) it’s a bit more timid, even though the ABV is a bit higher. Menthol cigarettes, a light smoke with hints of sandalwood. Almost Japanese in style. Furniture polish, soft oak, some fruit like plums and date.
The palate is where the ABV kicks in, but it does stay more balanced somehow. It’s dry with cherry stones, almond and a lot of oak. Some coal smoke, charcoal, pencil shavings, menthol, date and plum.
The finish is more typically like Bowmore with a bit of orangy citrus, sherry and oak. Smoke and richness, with a bit of a coarse smokiness like cigarettes. Dates and plum.
Well, Ruben was right to get people enthousiastic about this. It’s a cracking dram of which I wouldn’t have mind to have a whole bottle to myself. The balance is stunning and I love hose the cedar and sandalwood scents are coming through. Epic stuff.