Last week's 12 Year was already deep in the lavender era. If the dating of this miniature is correct, the spirit should be drawn from the late-70s to the early-80s - the very front end of that period rather than the middle.
This whisky was aged in a mix of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, then bottled at 43%, probably with coloring and chill filtration.
I purchased this sample at the Old England Scotch House.
Bowmore 17 Year (Late-90s)
Nose: big floral notes (lavender) with a purple/grape tinge, clean malt underneath, caramel, very light sherry, creamy vanilla, tannic oak and dry peat (more with time), and something savory. After adding a few drops of water the lavender becomes more integrated, the sherry is stronger, plus there's a little more peat and savoriness.
Taste: sweeter malt and bourbon cask notes bouncing back and forth with big floral/lavender up front, shifts towards bittersweet oak tannins from the middle back. After dilution the sweetness up front is joined by some sherry, the oak near the back is joined by some caramel, and citrus peel comes out around the middle.
Finish: lingering lavender, sweet malt and bourbon cask, polished oak tannins, very light peat, slightly sour
There are a lot of similarities with the 12 Year I just reviewed, but age had noticeably improved this one. While the lavender is still over the top, it's a little more integrated, though the even more diminished peat isn't around to help much. I do like the balance of bourbon and sherry casks, since I feel like the former often lets the spirit shine more than the latter (at least in Bowmore OBs) Unlike the 12 Year I would drink more if offered, but it's not something I need to search out. While the current 18 Year has its flaws, I honestly think it's a better whisky.
19 hours ago