Current Status: Limited Availability with a few retailers in Europe at approximately GBP 200+
So as I mentioned in my previous review.. tonight was the night of the Devil’s.. I started with Arran and now time for this Bowmore.. which is a small batch release matured exclusively in first fill Sherry casks. That by the way is pretty evident from the lovely ruby color that this spirit possesses.
Nose: Bowmore often mentions maturing its finest whiskies in its legendary No. 1 vaults by the sea.. well if you ever wanted some help in imagining how that place would have felt.. this expression can give you nose… the smells of that peaty spirit maturing in those sherry casks.. along with rows of the other casks.. the dampness that comes from being right next to sea.. it all right there. After this brief introduction comes the first fill sherry influence… the cotton candy.. maple syrup.. black grapes.. basically a lot of sweetness.. and there’s a touch of perfection to it
Palate: The darkness of this expression slowly begins to reveal itself further as you move to the palate a lot more of those black grapes and sweet dark berries along with some mild notes of peat. This one has a very rich palate with each flavor coming out nice and strong. Initially the spice is more of clove and as the spirit oxidizes its more peppery spice that comes through. This is accompanied by some liquorice too.
Finish: A fairly long finish .. which leaves a mildly dry feeling in your mouth .. with some wood shaving and the final showing of the darkness with some sweet dry black raisins
Even at 56.3% there’s an exceptional smoothness to this both on the palate as well as on the finish.
On this particular night .. its this Devil from Islay that has got me smiling ‘devil’ishly at the end of it all!!
Current Status: Available with limited retailers in Europe at GBP 200+ and with auction houses
So, I hadn’t really done too many Bunnahabhain’s before this one but I must admit that as an Islay whisky fan.. a festival release from this distillery did feature in the ‘must buy’ list for me. This 10 year old expression has been matured for 9 years in a Bourbon cask and one year in a Marsala Wine Cask before being bottled at 56.7%.
Nose: The effects of a year in the Marsala cask can been seen right from the first notes that greet your nose. The whiffs of peat that come through are a lot sweeter than usual and very pleasing too. As soon as you move past them there’s a lot of red apples and pears that reveal themselves. Eventually the woody notes from the Bourbon Cask follow through and after a bit of oxidization there’s more of the original Islay peat and iodine with some notes of citrus in there too.
Palate: This is probably the strongest aspect of this expression. A nice creamy and smooth delivery does make for a very pleasant experience. A lot berries .. more apples and some sprinkling of spices. Possibly some white pepper there as well.
Finish: More berries that follow through from the palate and some cinnamon too with some more wood . Finally some smoke to sign off leaving you with a nice warm feeling
All in all this a really nice dram… Whether or not it is worth the premium pricing tag that comes with any festival release is debatable.. but for some one who’s already bought it and tasted it too .. I can safely say I’m very happy!
Current Status: Quite easily available with most whisky retailers globally
I’ve both heard and read very nice things about this expression from Glenfarclas.. however for me this one was all about the Sherry …. that’s where it begun and that’s where it ended.. if you fancy that a lot then you probably love it as much. Can’t say that about myself though…
Nose: The beginning is like your nose was run over by a Sherry Train.. wow so much of it!! Along with it comes notes of dark chocolate.. bold spices…pears…possibly some wood and vanilla in there too..
Palate: The palate’s like a continuation of the sherry dominance.. although not as dry as you’d expect it to be.. there’s the characteristic sweetness .. with a lot of black pepper and cinnamon spices.. there was also some nutty notes in the mix
Finish: This was a Sherry story so every aspect of this expression had profound influence from the cask.. the finish too was drying .. fairly long.. and spicy too.. some where in there were also hints of mild smoke in the background
To be honest.. its a decent dram but.. definitely didn’t get me going wow about it. However given all the awards that this has won.. I’m very tempted to have to give it another shot.. and this time with some watering down to probably get some of that magic that I missed this time around..