For some distilleries there is a great vintage. For others, there seem to be nothing but great vintages. At least, if you don’t count the entire 1980s decade.
Of course, with a whisky called ‘Kilarrow Parish Church Bowmore’ as a description, there’s quite an indicator to what that distillery is.
When that Bowmore is bottled by Wu-Dram Clan, my ears peak up. As do my eyes and several other body parts. I’m quite hot for Bowmore, so to say. It is one of those distilleries that is either good or very good. Again, except the 1980s.
Unfortunately this one wasn’t available in regular channels, so all I have is a small sample to go by, but it was enough to get me all riled up!
Initially, the two most prominent scents are glue and smoke. For a 13 year old Bowmore, the smoke is rather restraint, and a typical note of lemon becomes apparent quickly. Slightly pithy with an acidic edge. Grassy, fresh lemon syrup. It’s good that the glue note dissipates quickly.
The sweet notes of oak, lemon cake, sweet pastry on one hand, combined with pithy lemon peel and a note of glue work quite well. The smoke is rather timid, but it makes for a lovely extra layer without overpowering anything. A very ‘classical’ Bowmore.
The finish is very consistent with the palate, including the timidness. Lemon, sweet pastry, a whiff of smoke. The pithy bitterness has gone, and the glue note is toned down quite a bit.
Timid does not mean weak, it just means it leaves room for nuances. In this case all those nuances are what makes Bowmore a true stand-out distillery. The restrained smoke, the lemon-y notes, even that slight whiff of glue on the nose does nothing but make the whisky more interesting. My lord what a cracker.
An easy 90. Thinking about 91. Yeah, 91.
Of course, since it’s a community bottling, it sold out before I knew it existed.