Bowmore 1996-2010, 14yo, 59.7% – Braunstein, DFDS Embassy Collection

Yet another Bowmore from the mid-nineties! Generally, as I have waxed about recently, I love these bourbon casks trips down memory lane. This one was bottled 10 years ago, by Braunstein, but the cask was chosen by people from DFDS, the ferry service from Scandinavia and the Netherlands, towards (among other locations) the north of  England. I’ll be on one of their ferries in less than a month!

A fourteen year old bourbon cask matured Bowmore is bound for success, even though the almost 60% ABV more or less indicates a rather inactive cask. I have hope!

I’m writing and tasting at the same time now, and even though these are the last couple of drops from the bottle, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this one. I’ve drank the rest of the bottle (the part I didn’t share), but never with much attention. This also indicates that it didn’t really draw attention to itself.

Quite a lot of alcohol on the nose, with the rather typical lemony smokiness and brine scents that I love from Bowmore. It’s all rather timid, though, and the alcohol is the biggest aroma I’m getting. It’s more or less a warning sign for what’s to come.

The palate is really held back by the rather insane burn of the alcohol. I’m doing my best to get some descriptors, but apart from my tongue going through agony and turning into leather, I don’t really get anywhere.

The finish is hot too, with a lot of burn going down. There’s a bit more smokiness to be detected.

Contrary to what I, literally, always do, I’m adding a drop of water.

The nose loses quite a bit of the coastal scents it had before. It’s a lot less crisp and I start getting some fruity notes. There’s a bit of barley and apple sauce.

The palate is a lot more amiable, with some more warming notes of a beachy bonfire. There’s still some heat with it being watered down to (an estimated) 40% or so.

The finish is a lot more dry and autumnal, with powdered leaves, salt and smoke. Still it packs a punch, but in a much more likable way.

I guess my guess of a rather inactive cask was correct, since it doesn’t seem to have mellowed much over the 14 years it was laid to rest. It’s mostly a lot of heat from the alcohol, with only some direct oak influence and not many other flavors and aromas to be found.

Based on my numerous experiences in drinking this and it not drawing attention to itself, most has happened in the small hours of the evening, and never as a first or second dram. In a way, it’s a pretty crappy Bowmore, compared to what the vintage is capable of. A shame.




About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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