Current Price: Approximately GBP 1,600 – GBP 2,500
The 1960’s were considered as a golden era for the Bowmore Distillery. This was the same time when the distillery produced the now legendary Black, White and Gold Bowmore series. Hence getting your hands on any spirit from this period is definitely a stroke of good luck. Fortunately a friend of mine sent me a sample of the now hard to find 37 year old Bowmore which was distilled way back in 1968. At 43.4% ABV, only 708 bottles of this whisky were bottled and I had a sample from bottle number 284. This was definitely going to be interesting.
Nose: It all begins with a lot of sweet notes honey, sugarcane and even sweet spices too. Strong earthy notes and wood make a strong appearance. There is peat but it makes a really fleeting appearance. Towards the end there’s some citrus based aromas possibly swaying more in the direction of a lemon tart or lemon cheesecake maybe.
Palate: There’s definitely a honey like sweetness that greets your tongue as soon as the spirit comes in contact with it, however it’s quite restrained and hence not overly sweet. This one has a really oily palate. What comes through very strongly is the flavors of various red and blue berries. It’s almost like someone had emptied a box full of these fruits in the whisky. At 43.4% the impact this creates is quite nice. There is some mild spice and some herbal notes too.
Finish: With so much of those berries of the palate it was probably no surprise that they’d made their presence very clearly felt on the finish too. There are also slight traces of peat along with some woody notes. Bowmore’s have never been known to be overly peaty however in this case how rarely the peat makes its way through is quite surprising. I’d say this one has a moderately long finish.
Overall while this is probably not a Bowmore that packs a massive punch its definitely a very easy going, smooth and thoroughly enjoyable drink.
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: Fairly available with most whisky retailers globally
Bowmore’s a distillery with a great legacy but over the past few years they have been subject to quite a bit of criticism for a few below par releases. I have visited this distillery and I really love the place and that makes me a bit biased towards everything that they bring out and this is one of those expressions that keeps my faith going strong in this lovely distillery.
Lovely heavy sherry notes characteristic of the Oloroso casks that have been used to mature this spirit for 15 years followed by some dry black raisins with vanilla and some nice woody tones that comes along.
A bit of oxidizing bring out some lovely dry flowers aromas with some green apples and mild citrus notes as well
There’s some nice salty caramel notes as well some sweet toffee notes coming out together. Seems like the proximity of the distillery’s warehouse to the sea is adding the saltiness to the caramel notes. There are also hints of peat and smoke which is always good if your an Islay whisky fan. Noticeably this whisky is nice and syrupy on the palate which is pleasing too.
I’d say the finish a medium one not too dry once again.. Some woody notes, a bit of peat.. mildly sweet and spicy flavors are that you get before its gone!
At approximately GBP 50.. I’d say this is a really nicely priced weekend dram.. 🙂