Bowmore 17 Year preceded the now standard 18 Year, then was relegated to the travel retail section. While the 18 Year has a preponderance of sherry casks over bourbon casks, the 17 Year inverts the percentages and has a higher proportion of bourbon casks than sherry casks.
This whisky was bottled at 43% with coloring and chill filtration.
I purchased this sample as part of a gift set at the Bowmore distillery in 2013.
Bowmore 17 Year
Nose: fairly subtle - balanced sherry, malt, mossy peat, and American oak, a little savory and salty, coffee. After adding a few drops of water the oak and peat are slightly amplified, making it richer but simpler.
Taste: bourbon-y caramel up front, subtle peat and oak from the middle back, a touch of sherry with some more European oak going into the finish. After dilution the oak and peat are amplified, while the sherry spreads out underneath the other flavors alongside some floral notes.
Finish: sherry residue, oak, malt, earthy peat
While this has gotten a little tepid at full strength, it has the basic structure of the 17 Year that I tried during the distillery tasting and enjoyed quite a bit. Whether your prefer the 17 or 18 Year is mostly dependent on how much sherry you want in your Bowmore. I prefer the bourbon cask end of the spectrum, so this works for me, especially as I find the oak to be less aggressive. Sadly it is also long gone, so I'll have to make due with the cask strength 17 year old Bowmores I have waiting for me.