Bowmore 22, 1996, Cask 17091 (Old Malt Cask 20th Anniv. Release)

Another week, another whisky released to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Old Malt Cask line, once part of the Douglas Laing portfolio, and now owned by the Hunter Laing company that spun off from it. (I still cluster all of these whiskies under the “Douglas Laing” umbrella in my categorization but that’s because it’s too much of a pain to go back and re-categorize whiskies released under labels that were once Douglas Laing lines and are now Hunter Laing). There seem to have been a rather large number of releases in the OMC 20 anniversary series, but I only have two left from the bottle split I went in on. Following last week’s Arran 21, Laphroaig 12 and Glen Grant 27, my last reviews of this series will be of two Bowmores. Each is 22 years old and distilled in 1996, matured in a hogshead and bottled at the classic 50% of the OMC line. As bourbon cask Bowmore of this age is usually very good indeed, I’m hoping for good things. 

Bowmore 22, 1996 (50%; OMC 20th Anniversary; cask 17091; from a bottle split)

Nose: Delicate with sweet malt, those Bowmore florals, musky notes of melon interlaced with mild, slightly peppery smoke. Some cream too on the second sniff. A few drops of water and it gets sweeter and creamier.

Palate: Peppery smoke leads here and then all the other stuff from the nose comes through. Nice texture. Fruitier on the second sip (passion fruit is the top note now) and there’s more white pepper. With more time there’s a fair bit of lime to go with the passionfruit and some bitter peel as well. Water brings out more of the ash and pulls cream out here as well. With more time there’s just a hint of glycerin.

Finish: Long. Peppery, ashy, acidic. Longer and fruitier with water.

Comments: I really like this one. Delicate notes on the nose that pop on the palate and keep going on the palate. I liked it both neat and with water—I’d recommend adding a few drops halfway through your pour. Just missing some complexity, and that hint of glycerin I could do without as well.

Rating: 88 points.

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