Bowmore 10, 1999 (Murray McDavid)


Let’s close out the week with another wine cask-finished whisky, another peated whisky, and yet another Bowmore bottled by Murray McDavid. This was distilled and released a few years after Wednesday’s Viognier finish. And unlike the other Bowmore and Monday’s Port Charlotte 13 the wine casks used for this whisky’s finish had previously held red wine—syrah to be exact. Even though I really liked that Port Charlotte and also thought the Viognier-finish Bowmore was quite pleasant, I am a bit apprehensive about this one as red wine finishes are the source of my prejudice against wine cask finished whisky. Anyway, let’s see what this is like.

Bowmore 10, 1999 (46%; Murray McDavid; bourbon and syrah casks; from a bottle split) 

Nose: Charred meaty notes along with whiff of organic rot. Below it there’s some musky fruit (passionfruit), lime and white pepper. With time the rotten thing retreats. With water the fruit expands and there’s some cream as well.

Palate: Leads with ashy smoke and then the fruit comes in behind along with some salt. Nice texture. With time the fruit expands some but remains in good balance with the smoke; the Bowmore florals are more in evidence as well. Okay, let’s see what water does. Alas, water pulls it apart a bit and there’s some glycerine now too. Less smoky now.

Finish: Long. The ashy smoke hangs out as the fruit and salt slowly expand. Very peppery at the end and the smoke gets more tarry. Just a hint of wine separation with time. As on the palate with water.

Comments: Much more happening on the palate here than on that of the Viognier cask. The nose is not as interesting as the other though. The wine is better integrated in this one (at least before water is added)—in fact, there’s not much sign of the usual red wine notes (red fruit, cologne etc.). I think that, on the whole, I like it about the same as the Viognier finish. Still, nothing I’m ruing not having a full bottle of.

Rating: 84 points.

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