#519 • Bowmore 17 years old

43% alc./vol.
Bowmore Distillery, Bowmore, Islay, Scotland

An old Bowmore here, probably available a few years ago, a bridge between the 15 and the 18 years? Around 2014 I think it was an official bottling of the distillery's “Core Range”!

There isn't much info left on that, but it's part of the game when we exchange samples, we have some, but we have so many that sometimes we lose track!

As the American war journalist and writer said so well Ernest "Ernie" Taylor Pyle (1900-1945) said so well:

Culture is like a parachute jump: when you don't have one, you crash

Her plump, swift legs drown in a golden bath.

Nose:
Peat and apples. We quickly replace these smells with passion fruit and caramel. Rather absurd and far from the usual style of the distillery. Subtle sherry as a backdrop.

Taste:
Silky texture. Caramel, grape and peat. The sherry shines a bit brighter here, but it's hard to ignore that it looks like a Bowmore that doesn't quite deliver the goods.

Finish:
Soft and slightly peaty, the leather and the fruits of the barrel do all the work. Quite pleasant smoked and salted meat.

Balance:
Hard to believe it's that old. Some notes ring false. Again, an overly diluted malt.

Note: ★★★★★

#498 • SMWS 3.270 Bowmore 18 years old

55.8% alc./vol.
Bowmore Distillery, Bowmore, Islay, Scotland

"Surf 'n' turf in a camel's saddlebag"

A superb Bowmore of 18 years, distilled 25 september 1997 since ex-sherry casks for a final stock of 594 bottles, thank you SMWS...

If you do not know the SMWS you can continue reading. If you prefer to go directly to the evaluation of this traffic jam, you can skip the next two paragraphs again without problem.

La Scotch Malt Whiskey Society, or SMWS, is the largest whiskey club in the world, with more 26 000 members spread across 16 countries. With their roots in the UK, they are so extensive that they can afford to buy whiskey casks and bottle them for sale exclusively to their members.

Always single casks, bottled cask strength without any mention of the distillery, their expressions are always highly praised and worshipped. Although the percentage of alcohol and the age of the whisky are indicated on the mysterious bottle, no mention of the distillery of origin is found there. The only clue to its origin is in the form of a cryptic code that cannot be deciphered until one has access to the appropriate legend.

As the German general said so well Gustav Adolf Joachim Rüdiger Graf von der Goltz (1865-1946) said so well:

He who must be hanged at Easter finds Lent very short.

Nose:
Light peat, roasted caramel, sea salt, sweet barley. BBQ and dusty sherry spare ribs. Dry and camphorated vapors.

Taste:
Caramel, pipe tobacco, astringent sherry, peat and lozenges for the throat. Leather and smoke.

Finish:
Warm and long on notes of leather, wood and smoke.

Balance:
A big, big, big peated sherry cask.

Note: ★ ★ ★ ★