Jul 102016
 

Bowmore 19 y.o. (Adelphi)IMG_2353

57.2% abv

Score:  89/100

 

This is from a wee sample gifted to me by my mate, Cam.  An utterly unexpected surprise, both due to its unsolicited handover and the oddball nose here that seems miles from a typical Bowmore.  This is a malt that shows why the independent game is arguably so much more exciting than just picking up the distillery releases.

An Adelphi bottling, this 19 year old was distilled in ’96, yielding up 214 bottles.  Elementary deduction (olfactory profile, small outturn, pale gold shade, etc) tells us this one was either a bourbon barrel or a hoggy.  I’d think maybe the latter.  Either way…it’s naked and lovely – though out of character in some respects.  The downhome farmyard notes are much more reminiscent of moderately peated Bruichladdich (sans the butyric note) or, from the mainland, BenRiach’s mature peated offerings.  Neato.

Fun one to try.  Not sure where you can find this one (if at all anymore), but I would recommend.

Thanks again, Cam.  Appreciate the kind share!

Nose:  Peppery and barnyard-ish.  Dry and dusty.  Seafood platters.  Oceanside.  Aromas of walking through long dry grass.  Or maybe hayfields.  A tangy BBQ note develops over time, but it’s quite timid.  Quite faint on the Bowmore-ness I was expecting (and hoping for).  Black current cough sweets.  A touch of rubber.  Yeah…peat and smoke.  But faint.

Palate:  There we go.  More Bowmore now.  Still farmy.  Dry, ashy notes.  Salt water.  Dried berries.  Jammy notes.  Rubber and anise.  Smoke.  Very juicy here.  Nowhere near as dry as the nose seems.  Gooey toffee.  Some chocolate or fudge.  Or chocolate fudge.  Grape juice.

Thoughts:  May be the farmiest Bowmore I’ve ever nosed.  Great palate.  A grower and changer.

 

 – Images & Words:  Curt

 Posted by at 10:40 am
Mar 152016
 

Bowmore The Devil’s Casks Small Batch Release II 10 y.o.IMG_1205

56.3% abv

Score: 89/100

 

We probably all know the story of Islay’s ’round church’ by now, aye?  Also known as the Kilarrow Parish Church, this place of worship was designed to a circular footprint, theoretically leaving no corner in which the devil could hide.  Hmmm.  Ok then.

The marketing people behind Bowmore couldn’t possibly leave a tale this rich unexploited (and let’s face it…nor would I).  They expounded upon this fragmentary bit of lore, insisting that the devil had indeed been discovered in the church, from whence he was driven by the native Ileachs, running directly down the hill and through the gates of the Bowmore distillery, before sealing himself in a cask of single malt whisky bound for the mainland.

Clever gimmickry aside – and this is certainly that – I have to admit that the story isn’t the only great thing about this whisky.  The malt is actually quite spectacular.  If I’d have gotten ’round to tackling this review sooner, I’d also have lauded the brand for pairing their pitch with an age statement.  The first and second releases of the Devil’s Casks were 10 year olds.  Unfortunately – knuckling under to exactly what NAS opponents fear-  after establishing a brand with a rabid following Suntory yanked the numbers off the bottle, jacked the prices sky high and hope we’ll simply accept this expression as yet another entry in the parade of NAS deceivers that continue marching past in this age of immediate financial gratification over long term reputation tarnishing.

Needless to say, I’m now on record as saying grab the first or second if you can find them, skip the third.  On principle, if nothing else.

But let’s get back on topic.  This particular 10 year old heavily-sherried beast is a monster.  A beautiful monster.  Sweet jammy fruit notes smash headlong into the oceanic peatiness we crave from Islay’s shores.  The result is intoxicating (beyond the physical effects).  This and the Laimrig (great bedfellows for side-by-side sipping sessions, I might add) should be the distillery’s focal point going forward.  Hey, if Ardbeg can pitch Uigeadail and Corryvreckan as core range stalwarts, why can’t Bowmore do likewise with hefty cask-strength offerings?

As I’ve said before, Bowmore is killing it with their current run of releases.  Perhaps the talents of Ms. Rachel Barrie at work?  Who knows.  Lovin’ it either way.

Nose: Lots and lots of sherry.  Wow.  Raspberry, strawberry, mint, pepper and smoke.  Immediately enamouring.  Damp hay and ocean breeze.  Milk chocolate.   A fair bit of iodine.  Both meaty and spicy.  Dark and oily.  Wet soil.

Palate:  Big, big arrival.  And very sweet.  Smoky and ashy.  Mixed berry jam on burnt toast.  Salty and coastal.  Dries a little, letting the barley step forward a bit from behind the peat and sherry.  Black Forest cake.  Tea.  Some licorice and plum. Leaves behind big smoky, tarry ropes of apple and barley sweetness.

Thoughts:  This is one of the best contemporary 10 year old malts I’ve ever encountered.  Vibrant and full of life.

Thanks to my mate, Mike M, for sharing this one.  Enjoyed the hell out of it.  Cheers, Mike!

 

 – Images & Words:  Curt

 Posted by at 10:01 am
Mar 072016
 

Bowmore Laimrig 15 y.o. (2014)135

54.1% abv

Score: 90/100

 

Oops.  Just discovered that I’d somehow missed publishing this one.  Thankfully I had saved a hefty sample from one of the bottles that got drained ’round here.  Yes, bottles.  This is a great malt for sharing and showing off the incredible strides Bowmore has made in recent years.

Longtime readers will know that in earlier years I had a bit of a ‘hit and miss’ (read: mostly miss) relationship with Bowmore.  Too many floral notes.  Happy to report, as I have before, that Bowmore seems to have sorted all that out and moved more into fruits than flowers.  Their recent sherried expressions are absolutely top notch.

I should note before diving into tasting notes that Laimrig seems to be a little drier and richer in spice and chocolate now than earlier batches, which were all jams and macerated fruits.  Don’t get me wrong, this is still a sweetie of a malt, but if you had a chance to try the earliest edition or two…wow.  I wouldn’t call this slippage; just a slightly different cask composition.  And the age statement remains, which we love.

I’ll be buying this indefinitely.  Great malt from Islay’s oldest distillery.

Nose: Chocolate and deep dark caramel.  Jammy, rich fruit notes.  Smoke.  Deep on the spice, nicely integrated though.  Smoky grape juice.  There’s something a little softer and creamier here than expected too.  Some sort of candy.  Chocolate cake.

Palate: Good.  Really good.  Not as great as earlier editions, but unquestionably top 5 for me in terms of 15 year olds.  Arrives rather dry, but turns mouthwatering.  Lots of smoke.  Fisherman’s Friend cough drops.  Rubber and earthy notes.  Finishes on smoked apple skins.

Thoughts:  Brilliant smoky and sweet collision.  Bottled at a great age.  One of my favorite affordable standard releases going.

 

– Images & Words:  Curt

 Posted by at 8:14 am
Apr 152015
 

Bowmore 25 y.o. Small Batch Release044

43% abv

Score:  83/100

 

It’s disheartening to find a 25 year old with so little character and soul.  A quarter century malt from an iconic distillery should be teeming with personality and have a niche all its own.  Sadly that’s not really the case here.  This is Bowmore without really being Bowmore.  Hard to believe an Islay distillery can be so utterly tame (without being named Bunnahabhain, that is).

Let’s pause a sec, though, and talk about expectations.  While I try to score a whisky based solely on an ‘as objective as possible’ basis, I can’t help but assess a whisky by holding it up against other expressions produced by the distillery.  This is where experience comes into play.  At the time of writing I have tried just shy of 50 different Bowmores that I know of (probably even more that I haven’t kept track of).  These run the gambit from new make spirit through the stunning old ’60s releases.  I’ve tried it straight from the cask and drunk it right at the source.  I like to think I know Bowmore from the earlier fruit bombs to the later perfumes.  Interesting enough…this whisky is not only neither of those; it’s almost unrecognizable as Bowmore.

Ok…so long as the whisky is good.  And good enough to justify that multi-hundred dollar price tag.  But here’s the rub; it’s not, really.  This is merely an ok outing for Bowmore.  Seems like it was matured in maybe third fill barrels (though I’m sure that wouldn’t really be the case).  Very little real distillery character.  And as for living up to the cost?  No way.

Hit up the 18.  I think at this point it’s a bit more of a safe bet.  Or better yet…the 15 year old Laimrig.  Now there’s a stunner.

Nose:  Flinty nip of wet rock.  Wine gums.  Smoke and peat.  Seawater.  Grape and a touch of grapefruit.  A tangy green note.  Some caramel.  Grains are still pretty prevalent.  A faint whiff of that lavendar aroma we’ve sorta come to (unfortunately) expect.  Slightly disappointing, to be honest.

Palate:  Dry smoke.  Wine-y.  Citrus pith.  Grains.  Wow…where is all of the fruitiness that should be bursting out of a 25 year old peat-er?  Dry.  Almost industrial.  A faint seafood note too.

Thoughts:  No bad whisky. No FWP.  No overwhelming lavendar.  But also none of what made older Bowmore so special.  Just a so-so malt.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 7:24 am
Mar 032015
 

Bowmore 18 y.o.034

43% abv

Score:  88/100

 

Well, well, well. This was a pleasant surprise, to say the least. The past few bottles of Bowmore 18 I’ve bumped heads with have been grossly underwhelming. And no, sorry…I’ve not kept track of bottle codes, batches or years of those particular incarnations. Suffice it to say that this bottle is definitely much more in my wheelhouse. Much more harmonious and multi-dimensional.

The biggest criticisms I’ve levied at Bowmore have been reserved for the period of production that encapsulated most of the 1980s and 90s and which seemed to carry an overwhelming floral edge to it. I’ve heard it referred to as a hint of lavender or lilac, but either way…it was a departure from the smoked fruits that once made Bowmore so magical in the eyes of many of my mates and I. Fortunately, recent iterations seem to be veering back towards those less perfumed profiles that balance a sweet tang and deep, smoky complexity.

I think it might actually be worth digging a little deeper into this Bowmore phenomenon of fruit versus floral, but that’s a piece for another day. For now let’s be content just curling up with a seductive and smoky whisky from Islay’s oldest distillery.

Bowmore sits pretty much middle of the pack in terms of peating levels of the island’s malts; much bolder than Bunna or Laddie (standard releases at least), but lacking the bombast of others such as Ardbeg, Laphroaig or Lagavulin. I believe the oft-quoted phenol levels for Bowmore are around 25 ppm. It should be noted that when we talk about peaty ppm, we’re almost always referring to the phenolic levels in the malted barley prior to distillation. Phenols are rarely measured in the glass after distillation and maturation.

Bowmore 18 boasts pretty much what I’d expect in terms of profile for a mature Islay malt (well…this bottling does anyway). And by that I mean a receding – yet omnipresent and held-in-check – smokiness and an abundance of emerging sweet fruity notes. This is oceanside campfires, seaspray and grape juice. I’m guessing this is a marriage of bourbon and sherry barrels. Nice blending here. If only it were stronger in terms of bottling strength.

Overall, a much improved Bowmore 18, and more in line with the jammy fruits that characterize recent sherried Bowmore releases like Laimrig and the Maltman’s Selection. And to say it again…thankfully a departure from the florals. Nice to see this one coming back to something like its former glory. A ‘most improved’ candidate, to be sure.

Nose:  Smoky grape juice.  A sweet citrus note.  The tiniest hint of sweet BBQ sauce.  A hint of licorice and coffee.  Somewhat jammy (raspberry-ish?).  A nice rising fruitiness and ebbing peat.  Good balance, and better than I remember this one being.  How ’bout a concoction of cola with a drop or two of both cherry and vanilla and a light dusting of pepper.  Yep.

Palate:  A great smoky, jammy note right up front.  A hefty dollop of peat (more than expected and more than the nose belies).  Some orange.  Anise.  Slightly medicinal.  Leaves a drying, wet rock feeling.  Nice mix of fruit and smoke.

Thoughts:  A little closer to the Bowmore of old, and I like that.  A LOT.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 3:12 pm
Dec 242014
 

Secret Spirits Advent Calendar Day 24 – December 24th103

1999 Bowmore 14 y.o. (A.D. Rattray)

Cask #2261 Sherry

58.3% abv

Score:  88.5/100

 

A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition.

We’ve had some approximation of Islay whisky in a couple of the calendar’s cubbies, but until now we’ve not yet tackled a true ‘named’ Islay distillery.  Seeing as how A.D. Rattray is one of the independent bottlers behind the Secret Spirits advent calendar, Bowmore is actually a very logical jumping off point. Logical, that is, if you’re aware that the current owner of A.D. Rattray is Tim Morrison, formerly top dawg of Morrison Bowmore.  Tim’s stash of casks (likely largely built of gracefully maturing Bowmore, I’d guess) is supposedly a thing of legend.

Bowmore itself is arguably Islay’s most iconic distillery.  It sits along the shores of Loch Indaal, where the Atlantic waves batter the whitewashed walls of the warehouses (apologies for the unintentional alliteration).  This distillery is responsible for some of my favorite and most coveted whiskies of all time.  The more I investigate the depth and breadth of Bowmore, the further I fall in love with it.  Much magic happened here in ages past, and I sort of think we’re heading back in that direction, if recent releases are any indication.  Hopefully they’re hoarding away some glorious old stocks for future years.

For those that may be new(ish) to Bowmore, don’t expect the profile of this A.D. Rattray expression to carry through in most of their distillery bottlings.  This is a bit of a one-off.  Sure, the fingerprints may give hints that lead us to Bowmore if we’re up to spending some time sussing out the nuances in here, but the whisky at a glance could be mistaken for almost any one of the other producers on the island.

That doesn’t even matter though.  All that does matter is that we have another bruising beauty of a malt to curl up with on Christmas eve.  This is unquestionably a ‘fireplace dram’.

Nose:  Dusty.  Ash, peat and smoke.  Caramel.  Flinty or slate-like.  Medicinal, iodine smells.  Sweetened and softened by sherry, but not overpowered at all.  Peat is still driving.  Lemon juice on shellfish.  Saltwater.  Wet hay.  Quite sweet, oily and syrupy.

Palate:  Salt and peppery.  A lot of smoke.  Like whole oysters thrown on an open fire.  Some tar and caramel apples.  Oceanic seaside notes.  Smoldering hay.  Granny Smith apples.  Vague reminders of Port Charlotte (without the butyric note) and Laphroaig (without the overly earthy medicinal note).

Thoughts:  Tough one to reconcile as a Bowmore, but a hell of a whisky.  This had to have been second or third fill casking.

Bonus:  My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season.  Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at SingleMalting.com.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 4:19 pm
Nov 242014
 

Islay2 443Bowmore Springtide

54.9% abv

Score:  88/100

 

Another whisky I tried for the first time on Islay around two years ago, give or take. 

A handful of sodden reprobates and I had just finished an unforgettable experience down in the No. 1 vaults beneath the distillery.  We were wrapping up the ‘Craftsman’s Tour’ with a couple bonus drams up in the Bowmore lounge overlooking the shores of Loch Indaal.  It was a sort of ‘pick your poison, boys’ kind of affair led by our wonderful guide Heather.  Among many other malts sampled that afternoon, this was foremost among my choices.  Not gonna lie…we were already more than a couple drams deep – a few of which were drunk directly from the cask – so I can’t promise that my senses were in any condition to properly assess the inherent quality of the malt at the time, but do I recall not being willing to drop the ~£100-150 (or whatever it was) to bring home a bottle.  That tells me I didn’t think it was all that exceptional.

And to be honest with you…I still don’t.  It is, however, an awful lot better than I recall from that intense dramming session.  That may sound like damning with faint praise, but that would be selling the whisky short.  This is actually very good stuff.  When the opportunity presented itself to revisit this oddball limited edition Bowmore (via the generous offer of a couple of friends of mine*) I leapt at it.  Sitting down with the glass once again was like being yanked back to that moment in time.  A tired group of friends…our last day on Islay…our last distillery tour on the island…and an unforgettable piece of my ‘whisky life’. 

Springtide was so named for the period when the earth, sun and moon are aligned.  Apparently that is the window in which this whisky was distilled.  I’m not sure what significance we’re supposed to believe that that concept has for this NAS Oloroso sherry cask-matured malt, but I guess we’ll concede points for originality (if not clarity and forthcomingness in marketing.  Ahem…age statement, anyone?).   

All gimmicky and shit, for sure, but still tasty.  Worth trying if you can find it.

Nose:  Sweet smoked dry fruit.  Grapes.  Sunflower seeds.  Oily.  A wee bit of tar, ash and rubber.  A tangy meatiness.  Stirfry sauce.  Citrus.  Tobacco and dried cherries.  Eucalyptus.  Some chocolate and salt taffee.  Florals emerge late and almost ghost-like.

Palate:  Spiced chocolate sauce and lapsang souchong tea.  Rum-soaked fruitcake.  Leaves quite a taste of smoke and grape skins in the mouth.  Or maybe plum skins.  Medicinal in a fruity cough syrup kinda way.  This is heavy sherry and moderate smoke.  Neat.

Thoughts:  May not be to everyone’s liking, but it works a treat for me.

*Thanks to Greg and Jarka Winters for the opportunity to try this one again.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 4:00 pm
Oct 212014
 

Bowmore Laimrig (Batch 3)036

53.7% abv

Score:  91/100

 

Each time I sit down with a glass ( or two) of this malt I feel like I’m making a big mistake.  Like I should maybe be putting away a few extra bottles for that proverbial rainy day.  I think we’re all familiar with the old parable about the grasshopper and the ant, right?

With the current state of the whisky world being what it is (soaring costs, dipping ages and a steady veering towards no age statement malts) I fear it really is only a matter of time until the ’15’ disappears from the label of this expression.  Or further, that the Laimrig disappears altogether.  Let’s hope I’m wrong on that one, but I think either way it’s time to shelve a few bottles for future days.

Laimrig is a revelation.  A sub $100 release that simply outperforms anything comparable on the market.  Its appeal (at least for me) lies in the intricacies of the marriage of sweet and smoke, and how beautifully it manages to integrate these pieces into such a harmonious whole.  The three main factors at play here are peat + sherry + age.  The smokiness though, for any who may be concerned they may not be peat-conditioned enough for this one, is restrained enough to sit behind the syrupy fruit notes, creating a very broadly appealing dram.  I’ve yet to pour one for someone and have them not like it.  And finally… probably the single greatest asset working in favour of Laimrig is a return to a fruitier style of Bowmore.  This profile is far preferable to the more floral Bowmore we’ve been privy to for the past several years.  Absolutely a move in the right direction for this distillery.

Undoubtedly my favorite  under-20 y.o. whisky out there.

Nose:  Grape juice.  Smoke.  Deep jammy notes and berry coulis.  Well-oiled leather.  Sea spray.  A touch of grapefruit.  Ash and iodine.  Devil’s food cake and cherry pie filling.  Apples and apple skins.  A little bit of rubber.  A savoury, slightly meaty note.

Palate:  Deep, deep threads of smoked dark tree fruits.  Lush and juicy.  Smoky and hinting at a Fisherman’s Friend kind of medicinal edge.  Plum sauce and some dark gooey Asian sauces (hoisin?).  Apple skins and soggy wood.  Oil.  Viscous and rich.

Thoughts:  I adore this whisky.  Slightly different than previous ones I’ve tried, but equally awesome.  A little more on woods and less on fruits, I think, if I had to put my finger on it.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 10:32 am
May 212014
 

Bowmore Tempest (Batch 3)

55.6% abv

Score:  84.5/100

 

Having now shared a few words on the first edition of Tempest, let’s contrast a little against a more recent version.  This is Batch 3.  Currently, a rebranded Batch 4 is sitting on the shelves here in Alberta.  I’ve yet to try that most recent incarnation, but will hopefully get to it soon. 

Bowmore has been doing a lot of things right in recent years.  Some neat one-offs and some new editions to the range have been welcome additions.  While I can’t necessarily get behind some of the younger NAS releases, such as Surf and Legend, I can say that the distillery is winning me back one bottle at a time.  For a while there I was a little disillusioned. 

Seeing as I spilled most of the beans in the previous review (linked above), I imagine I can be a little less wordy here, and simply dive in.  Tempest Batch 3 is still a fierce dram, of course.  Big and flavourful, rich and full of character.  While it may not tick all the boxes the first batch did, I do still like it enough to buy and drink.  This time ’round though, I believe you need to be a little more of a died-in-the-wool peathead to immediately cotton to this one.  Batch 1 had a rounded sweetness that likely would have worked to broaden the appeal.  Here you have a slightly sharper and more prickly Islay malt at a hefty abv.  Highly possible that this one is not for the faint of heart.  The peat and smoke are loud and obnoxious.  That’s right up my alley, personally, but may make for a narrower target market.

While Batch 1 was an ‘old soul’ of a 10 year old, this a youthful 10.  So be it.   If you chance upon the different batches on the shelves anywhere though…I would highly recommend grabbing  the first edition over the later ones.  Just my two cents. 

Nose:  A lot of chocolate.  Some hay and herbal notes.  Dusty barn.  Smoke.  Lemon.  Fish and brine.  Some caramel pudding.  Salt and pepper.  Sea water.  Maybe just a touch floral.

Palate:  Big, sharp attack.  Fishy notes and burning barley.  Chocolate and licorice.  Very ‘naked’.  Ashy.  Does somewhat bitter out a bit unfortunately.  Lacks the balanced creaminess that made the first such a charmer.

Thoughts:  A fairly one-dimensional malt that doesn’t hold a candle to the first batch.  Having said that…it’s still a very fine dram.  Expect something along the lines of Caol Ila or very young Port Ellen in terms of mouth attack.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 12:57 pm
May 212014
 

Bowmore Tempest (Batch 1)

56.3% abv

Score:  89/100

 

I think this was released in 2009 or 2010 (forgive my lack of research).  Does that make me fashionably late?  Or maybe just the slacker who slept in, and now shows up all disheveled and interruptive?

While I concede that I’m not certain of the exact year this was released, I do recall my excitement upon hearing there was to a young, entry level cask strength Bowmore on the shelves.  Of course, like everything else, it would have hit Canadian shores much later than other markets, effectively rendering the release date moot anyway.  Either way…a few words on the first batch of Bowmore Tempest:

With all of the shitty, negative trending going on right now with NAS (No Age Statement) bottlings, there is one trend that I can absolutely get behind.  That of more and more distilleries releasing cask strength malts into their core ranges.  Over the past few years we’ve been lucky enough to see the likes of Glenfiddich Distillery Edition, Glenlivet Nadurra, Auchentoshan Valinch, GlenDronach Cask Strength, nearly every Ardbeg, etc.  Of course, there are also the familiar faces such as Aberlour a’bunadh, Glenfarclas 105 (not CS, but BIG nevertheless), Laphroaig CS, Lagavulin 12, the Port Charlotte PC series, etc.  Good times for flavour junkies. 

At one time Bowmore used to have a cask strength release as well, but that’s a malt I haven’t seen in years, aside from a dram from an old bottle on Islay a couple years back.  Fortunately, however, they’ve now opted to give us the goods as we want ’em: big, bold and relatively unadulterated.  Namely, this 10 year old Tempest and the 15 year old Laimrig.  These whiskies…man…if I had my way these profiles would be the future of the distillery. 

Bowmore has worn many masks over the years.  It’s sort of like the Gary Oldman of Islay malts.  Highly malleable…infinitely chameleonic.  Usually interesting enough to win you over.  The true Bowmore profile is sorta hard to pin down, to be honest, but in the Tempest and Laimrig, Bowmore have really managed to knock it out of the park, and bring back a familiar style that has seemingly been supplanted by a more floral elegance in recent years.  Laimrig carries the sherried heft of smoked Bowmore with flair and a depth of jammy-ness that is a return to an older, more fruity style.  Tempest, on the other hand, brings a more naked (primarily bourbon cask matured, I would assume).  I’m a fan of both, but the Laimrig, in particular, is a showstopper.

As for the Tempest itself…

We’re looking at Batch 1 here.  It’s a deep whisky, balanced and hiding a surprising maturity (beyond 10 years, I’d say).  Subsequent batches are substantially different unfortunately.  Not bad, by any means, but not the same, and definitely not quite as good.  If only this particular dram were replicable and consistent in this incarnation (which it has obviously proven not to be), Tempest would be a rather perfect young whisky.   

Nose:  Smoke and peat, o’course.  Chocolate.  Coffee.  Cracked pepper.  Orange and Lemon.  Some notes that aren’t far off from an Ardbeg.  Caramel and pear.  Some unexpected creaminess.  Baked Alaska. 

Palate:  Sweet candy arrival, through smoke and into licorice.  A lot of fresh squeezed citrus and more cracked pepper.  Either very active bourbon casks leveeing these spicy notes, or a bit of sherry influence.  Either way…crackling with nifty ‘Pop Rock’ surprises.  There’s an earthiness here that hints at Garden Burgers, interestingly enough.

Thoughts:  Hmmm…much like many first editions of named releases, I have a sneaking suspician this was a ‘best foot forward malt’.  (Read: there are some older, better casks in here than we’ll see in future editions.)  Great balance.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 12:39 pm