Hard on the heels of yesterday’s excellent Maltmen’s Selection here is another Bowmore 13, 1995, this time an independent bottling done by the Whisky Exchange for their Single Malts of Scotland line. As with the Maltmen’s Selection this is also sherried, but from a single butt. Let’s get right to it:
Bowmore 13, 1995 (56.4%, sherry butt #419; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Brandied raisins, some resin/pine. Then ink and slate and something savoury as well. Really quite pungent, but not particularly phenolic or smoky. With time there’s briny sea air, a hint of lime peel and a livery, gamey quality (I think this is what I was first getting as ink and slate). A grassy note as well. With even more time, vinous notes begin to emerge and more classic sherry notes begin to come to the fore (plum jam, fruitcake); but that inky note never goes away. Even later, it’s the lime peel that takes a turn on stage. I could nose this for a really long time: I have a feeling it’s got a few more transformations in it. With a drop of water the savoury note expands in concert with the lime peel. With a minute or two I get strong whiffs of pickling spices.
Palate: Oh, this is good. Much more classically sherried on the palate: raisins, figs, plum jam. Transitions into salty and savoury, with more of that ink. Some leather too (a new leather couch). With time, quite a bit of cocoa with a little bit of Cointreau for emphasis. Very drinkable without water but let’s see what happens. With a drop of water the citrus becomes much bolder, and I begin to remember (but only vaguely) that this is a peated whisky from Islay. Remarkable, how little smoke there is in this.
Finish: Long. Salt. That inky note follows into the finish. A little bitterness (Campari).
Comments: Doesn’t have the depth/richness of the Maltmen’s Selection on the palate, but quite clearly a sibling–in fact, as I compare the notes they seem all but identical except that some of the things I got on the nose in this I got on the palate on that one and vice versa. Smoke is all but missing in both, as is the Bowmore lavender. I wonder if those notes are being transmuted somehow into the inky/gamey note when the spirit undergoes the intense sherry maturation. I am finding it difficult to pick between the two. Luckily, I’m not required to.
Now this one’s price tag would not have scared me if I’d seen it when it came out, so all the more tragic that I didn’t. Okay, anyone know of any other sherried Bowmore 13 from 1995?
(Should we try to get the whisky geekverse excited about sherried Bowmores from 1995? My guess is it wouldn’t need too much doing–all we need is for a big gun like Serge V. to make a brief allusion to it.)
Rating: 90 points.