When I was on Islay, of course I didn’t just buy a shared bottle of Bunnahabhain Marsala Cask, we also went to Bowmore. We obviously went to Bowmore since we could see the distillery from our cottage, and it’s a great distillery to boot.
At the time they didn’t have a cask out for a handfilled Distillery Only bottling, which was a shame. They did, however, have this Warehousemen’s Selection available. A 17 year old whisky, matured in. This looked very appealing, but that may be the case because I was all giddy about being on Islay and being at Bowmore. I couldn’t remember for the life of me that this was matured in wine casks, as well as sherry and bourbon. I generally don’t like wine casks, and Bowmore’s wine casks have done nothing to change that opinion.
When I found this out, when I printed the label for my share, I was a bit apprehensive about trying it. Not entirely without reason.
Smoke with fruity wood notes. A bit like a burnt cake with red fruits. Almond ‘spijs’, nuts, dark and sugary bread.
Quite sharp, with lots of sweet fruit on the arrival. It builds to a lot of chili heat, which gives it some sort of urgency. Red fruits, almonds, very dessert like. But with oak and smoke and barley.
The finish is strangely warm, with little to no typical Bowmore flavors. Lots of red fruits, stewed strawberries, sweet blackberries, maybe even rhubarb.
There’s a certain weirdness that’s not bad, but just weird. It makes it hard to love this whisky. The combination of flavors is a bit off whack, and the fact that the heat on the palate makes me want to finish is quickly is not a good thing.
So, there’s positives, with it being a complex whisky with lots of flavors. And there’s negatives with this being a very weird whisky that I couldn’t really find enjoyable. Bummer.
Apparently, I’m an outlier here, since it gets almost 90 points on Whiskybase, with almost a hundred ratings.
Bowmore Warehousemen’s Selection, 17yo, 1999, Bourbon & Sherry & Wine casks, 51.3%