Thursday, July 9, 2020

Whisky Review: Bowmore 21 Year (Late-90s)

Finally, the last of this series. This is also one of the older Bowmore's I've ever had the chance to try. The Prime Malt 21 Year/1982 is the same age, but drawn from a slightly later period. Assuming that this OB is actually from the late-90s, it should have been distilled somewhere in the late-70s. I guess we'll see how much of a difference that makes.

This whisky was aged in (I believe) a mixture of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, then bottled at 43%, probably with coloring and chill filtration.

I purchased this sample from the Old England Scotch House.

Bowmore 21 Year (Late-90s)

Nose: kind of closed - oak-y sherry, maple syrup/caramel, vanilla, baking spices (cinnamon), light lavender, a touch of peat. After adding a few drops of water the bourbon casks are emphasized and most of the other notes fade into the background.

Taste: surprisingly hot - moderate sherry sweetness up front, joined by some oak tannins and floral notes in the middle, maltier fade out with a touch of peat. After dilution it gets a little watery but the heat entirely disappears, the sherry up front is replaced by American oak sweetness, and the floral notes shift into the background.

Finish: lingering oak and lavender, grape/purple, sherry residue, fresh malt

This is something of an odd duck. It appears to have leapfrogged the worst of the lavender, but the result is something kind of generic. Given that the peat has faded even more, I would probably peg this as some kind of older Highland malt. The lavender is the only thing really connecting it to Bowmore, though even that is balanced enough here that I'm not sure I would automatically guess it. If it had some of the older Bowmore tropical fruit I would move it up a notch, but I couldn't really find any. So there's nothing wrong with this malt and I would drink more if offered, but I also don't get the feeling that it's something I need to search out in future.

For a slightly different take on what I think is the same whisky, see The Whiskey Jug.

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