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