Bowmore 17, 2002-2020, 1st Fill Oloroso Hogshead TWB1010, 54.6% – The Whisky Barrel

I have no idea how someone would come up to bottle a cask of Islay whisky to commemorate the 51st anniversary of the moonlanding, but I’m glad they did. With this being a 2002 vintage, I think this is more-or-less from the same era of distillate as the Devil’s Casks from a couple of years ago.

The color is tremendous and is generally not something I care about, but when something looks more like strong espresso than whisky, it tends to get some attention.

I was lucky enough that SJ (a whisky buddy) was kind enough to share a sample from his bottle, and I recently sat down to properly assess it (as far as I’m qualified to assess something, and call it ‘properly’…).

Image from Whiskybase

Sniff:
This is old fashioned sherry and peat. There are hints of fruit and spices and leather, as well as smoke and brine and tar. A delicious combination of all that you would want from a whisky like this. Some mocha later on, and sandy beaches as well.

Sip:
There’s more heat on the arrival than I expected, to be honest. While it’s not a bad thing I wouldn’t mind a bit more gentleness. Apart from that it’s the expected dry sherry with loads of ground baking spices like cinnamon and clove, nutmeg even. There’s also ground coffee and sawdust. Leather and some dates.

Swallow:
The finish is a little bit more fruity than the palate with more dates and prunes and even some cherries. Very dark with even a hint of bitter chocolate on top of the mocha.

This is glorious! I thought Bowmore wasn’t about producing stuff like this anymore, it’s a profile that hasn’t shown up in a few years. However, when you find something like this it’s enough to make you giddy!

And I accept that this whisky is probably not for everyone, since I know some people who would consider this to be too much of a good thing. Too much sherry, like chewing a bit of the whisky’s cask. However, once in a while, when done right, I absolutely love this.

91/100

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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