As I noted in passing in my review on Monday of a wine cask-finished Port Charlotte, I am not generally a fan of wine cask-finished whiskies. Most of the ones I have had—like that Port Charlotte—have emerged from Bruichladdich. So too in a sense has this Bowmore. It was bottled by Murray McDavid, the indie bottling arm of Mark Reynier-era Bruichladdich, and a label that put out a large number of wine cask- finished or, as they liked to call them, “ACE’d” whiskies. This particular release started out in bourbon casks and ended up in viognier casks. Well, Monday’s Port Charlotte was from French white wine casks as well and I unexpectedly quite liked it. Will the positivity continue with this one? Let’s see.
Bowmore 11, 1995 (46%; Murray McDavid; bourbon & viognier casks; from a bottle split)
Nose: Well, this is bananas. I mean both that it’s weird and that I’m getting a fried plantain note; below that some passionfruit and lime and then the peat begins to bubble up. I have to say I rather like this. As it sits the passionfruit tops the banana. With even more time the lime expands past the passionfruit. The passionfruit returns to the fore with a few drops of water and the whole is fruitier now.
Palate: Hmm not much happening here though. Sort of an indistinct ashiness plus some bell pepper and then the wine begins to separate. After a few minutes the lime from the nose begins to expand here as well but it just doesn’t add up to anything very interesting on the palate and that wine separation keeps happening. Okay, let’s see what water does. Well, at first it seems like it’s going to bind everything together nicely but then the wine separates again. Fruitier here now though.
Finish: Medium. No development here—just that ashy smoke which, like me, turns more bitter with every sip. Fruitier here too with water.
Comments: I really liked the nose; if the palate had not been so indistinct I would have been interested in hunting down a bottle for the nose alone. I’d guess a full-term maturation, or at least a longer secondary maturation in the viognier casks would have been more harmonious.
Rating: 84 points. (Pulled up by water.)