Bowmore 22, 1989 (Liquid Sun)

Bowmore 22, Liquid SunHere is another Bowmore from the edge of the danger zone. There is no great tension in this preamble though as I’ve had it before and know it doesn’t have any of the dreaded soapy or perfumey notes that ran riot at Bowmore in the 1980s. This was bottled by Liquid Sun, which I believe is just another imprint of the Whisky Agency (the well-known German indie outfit). As to whether there’s some method to what goes under the main imprint and what goes under the Liquid Sun imprint, I don’t know–it may just be a way of getting large numbers of releases to stand out in the marketplace.

Bowmore 22, 1989 (50.7%; Liquid Sun; bourbon hogshead; from my own bottle)

Nose: Dry, minerally smoke with a fair bit of salt on the edges. Then some seashells and sweet iodine–quite coastal. There’s an almost earthy note too or maybe it’s wet sackcloth. With a little more time there’s some lime. Quite mellow, on the whole. With more time there’s a buttery quality and a touch of pepper too. With a drop of water the lime expands and becomes more zesty/bitter, indeed starts moving towards citronella, but then the butteriness comes back again.

Palate: Comes in with the minerally smoke and the acid (lime) and pepper; and then as I swallow there’s some mild tropical fruit with floral highlights. Not a fruit bomb by any means but quite charming. Smokier on the palate than on the nose, and feels hotter than the 50.7% might suggest. With a lot of time there is a faintly soapy note but it’s nowhere close to being offensive. Not much change with water, except perhaps a muting of the fruit.

Finish: Medium. The fruit transitions to salt. The smoke lingers. A little more bitter with water.

Comments: To repeat myself, this is a mellow and charming Bowmore. It’s probably not for anyone looking to be enveloped by smoke or smothered in fruit but it’s a nice, grown-up whisky. The nose, in particular, rewards patience. The palate is a little more limited and you feel the lack of intensity more there. Better without water, I think.

Rating: 87 points.

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