Let’s continue with the review of the recent K&L exclusive casks. And no, they’re not paying me for all this free, extended coverage of their whiskies. For that matter, they don’t even appear to be enjoying it. Ah well, can’t please everyone.
Speaking of not pleasing everyone, Bowmore is also a distillery that has not always pleased everyone. This is mostly due to folly on the part of the fraction of everyone who have not been pleased. Bourbon cask Bowmore from the early 1990s on is usually a very good proposition. So much so that I’ve even really liked a K&L exclusive cask in that vein. Last year they had an OMC 22 year old that I purchased on Sku’s recommendation while in Los Angeles and loved to the tune of 91 points. I won’t need this to be that good to make me happy but I will also not object if it is. Let’s see.
Bowmore 21, 1996 (52.8%; Old Malt Cask for K&L; refill hogshead; from a bottle split)
Nose: Lemon; mineral, ashy smoke; brine; oyster liquor. On the second sniff there’s grapefruit and passionfruit. As it sits the lemon moves to lime peel and there’s some light vanilla-cream as well. A few drops of water push back the vanilla-cream and bring out more salt here as well.
Palate: Somewhat thin arrival and not a whole lot happening at first. But as I swallow the passionfruit begins to expand and the smoke swirls around it. More smoke and salt on the second sip. The salt keeps expanding as it sits; the fruit gets sweeter and the vanilla-cream from the nose shows up. Okay, let’s see what water does. It knocks back the sweeter notes and mixes the salt with some white pepper which then expands as it goes.
Finish: Long. The fruit and the smoke hang out for a while; salt builds in the background. With time there’s just the slightest hint of glycerin. Water knocks the glycerin out and pushes the salt back a bit; white pepper here too now.
Comments: This is very nice indeed but not quite at the level of last year’s 22 yo; not enough fruity depth and just a bit too much salt. Still, $150 is a very good price these days for a 21 yo Bowmore of this quality and if it hadn’t already sold out I’d have been sorely tempted to have one picked up for me.
Rating: 88 points.