Bowmore 20, 1997-2018, Refill Sherry cask 2414, 56.3% – Adelphi

Adelphi still is a bottler that generally puts out high quality whiskies. I do think success is not as guaranteed as it was a decade ago, but they’re still way above average. Of course, prices are way above average too, but that’s not new for this bottler.

Add to that that this whisky is a properly aged Bowmore from a sherry cask, and you’ve got my full attention. This one, from 1997 is even from a very solid vintage, but that’s starting to be true of a lot of Bowmores over the last couple of years. Except the 1980s, of course.

Let’s find out where this one sits!

Image from Whiskybase

Timid, with sweet, sooty smoke. Sweet and light on the sherry. Some peaches, and sultanas. It has some coastal salinity, with hints of brine and sand. A crisp sea breeze coming in.

The palate is a lot stronger than I expected with quite a dry and woody burn. Sawdust, charcoal, a whiff of smoke. Some peaches, dried apricots and some dusty cinnamon. The salinity is here too.

The finish kicks in with that burn again, but the smoke quickly turns to a more lemony, diesely mezcal like smoke. This becomes a bit more gentle than on the start of the finish. After a few seconds the sweet, smoky sherry lingers after the rest, with orange and apricot.

There’s not much about this whisky that I don’t like. Even better than that, it does things in a way that I prefer over similar things. I like it when the smokiness of a whisky is a bit mezcal-like. I like it when there are hints of lemon and soot. It’s not surprising that Bowmore is one of my favorite distilleries, after all.

This one does all these things very well, and with the typical coastal notes, some dried fruits but not an overly sweet palate, it ticks all boxes!

In short, an awesome whisky!


Available in the secondary market for € 275. Of course that’s a ludicrous amount of money, but for Bowmore of this vintage, this bottler, this age and this cask type, it’s actually on the low end of things.


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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