Bowmore 21, 1998 (Old Particular)

Today is the ninth anniversary of my blog’s launch. I had no particular thoughts then—that I can remember at any rate—of how long I’d keep it going but nine years seems quite long. When Sku signed off from his blog after it turned 10 I’d thought I might one-up him and end mine when it turned nine. But don’t get your hopes up: I’m not going to. I don’t know how many more years I’ll keep at it but for now I’m still enjoying blogging—especially with the dual food and whisky focus, and the occasional foray into other things. I know that I’ve lost many of my original whisky readers with the diluted focus on whisky after the first couple of years. I do very much appreciate those of you who’ve stuck with the blog no matter when you happened on it, whether whisky or food is your prime interest. I’ve never been a volume reviewer of whisky—in the first year or so I posted a whisky review every day but I couldn’t keep that up very long. It’s been three reviews a week for a long time now and it’ll stay that way. My practice of only reviewing what I choose to drink and not accepting commercial samples will also continue. And my reviews of restaurant meals—in the Twin Cities metro and beyond—will also continue to be independent and will doubtless continue to win me more friends online as my recent review of Owamni did on Facebook; I’m glad to have at least a few blog readers who find those reviews of value (whether you agree or disagree). To those who cook from the recipes I post I feel perhaps the greatest gratitude—for in a sense letting me into your kitchen and making some of what we eat part of your own and your family’s repertoires.

But enough cloying sentiment! It’s been a tradition for every blog anniversary to be marked with a Bowmore review—as my first review happened to be of a lowly Bowmore—and so it will be this year as well.

Bowmore 21, 1998 (51.2%; Old Particular; refill hogshead 14178; from a bottle split)

Nose: Somewhat muted arrival but as it sits dry, mineral smoke begins to waft out, bringing some lime and some floral notes with it. A coastal complex develops as well (brine, shells) along with a bit of vanilla. With time the lime comes to the fore. Three drops of water and the lime gets pushed back and the whole gets mellower.

Palate: Smokier here from the get-go and also fruitier. It’s not the most exuberantly fruity burst but the familiar Bowmore tropical accents are present (makrut lime, passionfruit. Very approachable at full strength but the texture is a little flat. More ash on the second sip and more lime. Turns peppery heading to the finish. With time there’s some charred pineapple as well. Okay, let’s add a bit of water. Water knocks back the acid here a bit too at first and pulls out more char and more of the sweeter, muskier fruit. The texture does turn quite thin now though.

Finish: Long. The pepper picks up some char and then the salt returns at the end. With more time some of the sweeter fruit hangs out into the finish as well but the whole gets more acidic. As on the palate with water at first but then the acid comes back and the fruit expands. More char at the very end.

Comments: It’s possible my pour came from towards the end of the bottle but this is lacking some depth of both texture and flavour. Still, it’s a very good bourbon cask Bowmore with no flaws whatsoever.

Rating: 87 points.



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